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Narrabri gas approval a huge win for manufacturing workers

September 30, 2020

Having long advocated for the development of the Narrabri gas project, the Australian Workers’ Union has today welcomed the Independent Planning Commission’s decision to approve it, with the union now urging politicians at a state and federal level to ensure the enormous potential benefits flow to workers and their families.

After many years of uncertainty the IPC has now paved the way for the government to greenlight the project, which has the potential to greatly alleviate pressure on NSW manufacturers and NSW households.

AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said the decision should be a big win for the state of New South Wales.

“The AWU has long pushed for the approval of the Narrabri gas project because, if handled correctly, it will be a win for jobs, a win for households, and a win for the environment,” Mr Walton said.

“More gas should mean more affordable gas. More affordable gas means more competitive manufacturing and cheaper electricity.

“Our union has never accepted the false choice between gas and renewables — you need the reliability of the former to allow the latter to flourish.

“New South Wales should be a thriving global heavy manufacturing hub, and that’s exactly what we can become if we better harness our gas wealth. This approval is an excellent step.”

However, Mr Walton noted that the IPC approval was not the end of the battle.

“Santos has made numerous welcome commitments to supply gas to local industry if Narrabri is approved, and we note the NSW Government has also received a commitment that the gas from the project will supply locals. But we also note these commitments are not legally binding,” Mr Walton said.

“It is the responsibility of those our elected representatives to ensure that the Narrabri gas project delivers not just for Santos, but for the people of this state.

“If Narrabri goes ahead the federal government must institute export controls to ensure that extra gas stays here and helps Australians. Likewise, the New South Wales Government can ensure that laws are in place to ensure that gas produced from Narrabri doesn’t leave the state.

“Of course, even with this approval, the gas won’t start flowing for some time. In the intervening period, the government must take urgent action to ensure today’s historically low gas prices be translated into long contracts offered for manufacturing.”

“IPC approval is a massive step, but our politicians need to ensure the huge benefit of the Narrabri gas project isn’t squandered.”

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