The Illawarra Business Chamber is encouraging the NSW Government to positively consider the construction of a gas import jetty at Port Kembla to provide much needed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the region.
Executive director Chris Lamont does’t want to see the $300 million project lost to another state. With NSW importing 97 per cent of the natural gas it uses from other states/territories the chamber thinks increasing supply will provide greater energy security and put downward pressure on price. He said rising gas prices, restrictions on gas exploration and concerns regarding potential gas shortages were good reasons for the government to positively consider the project. Potential sites are being assessed on the ease of building a pipeline to a nearby gas transmission network, local planning and environmental issues and regulations, availability of existing port facilities, land, roads and pipelines and the capacity to minimise the effects of future shipping operations.
Mr Lamont said the chamber understands there needs to be due diligence in planning assessments “however, we don’t want to lose this opportunity to South Australia or Victoria due to uncertainty or lengthy bureaucratic processes”.
The chamber recently met with Energy and Utilities minister Don Harwin where it stressed the value of the Port Kembla project to the region and NSW.
Mr Lamont also emphasised the importance of getting certainty from the NSW Government in terms of planning requirements and timelines.
“This $300 million project presents a great opportunity to augment the supply of natural gas for NSW businesses and households,” he said.
“We can’t afford to have another year of double digit increases in gas prices. Given energy price pressures on business, particularly small business, we welcome AGL’s consideration of Port Kembla and hope AGL get the necessary assurances required from the NSW Government to assess the feasibility of the project in a timely manner”.