December 11, 2013

As part of the Our Natural Advantage campaign, on 10 December APPEA coordinated a delegation of more than 50 company staff and industry supporters to Parliament House in Canberra.  This group included staff from 13 APPEA member companies, as well as independent landholders, small businesses, and industry suppliers.

Delegates included people such as:

  • An Indigenous Training Coordinator who identifies oil and gas industry training and development opportunities for other indigenous people throughout the Pilbara.
  • A woman who after 25 years in the hospitality industry, started working in the Queensland gas industry in 2010. Originally recruited as an Administrative Assistant, she is now Operations Services Manager.
  • A former farmer who returned to his home town of Roma, Queensland four years ago after gaining employment with a gas company’s irrigation and land-management team. He today also again works on his parents’ family cattle property near Roma; an opportunity that was not previously financially viable due to the property’s lack of scale and due to a lack of off-farm income.
  • A Melbourne-based Sales and Marketing Manager for  a maker of electronic components that has won a contract on Chevron’s $29 billion Wheatstone LNG project. The company has now been listed on Chevron’s list of global suppliers and now has global oil & gas industry opportunities to pursue.
  • A former automotive mechanic who now works as a production technician on Shell’s Prelude floating LNG technology, ensuring it complies with Australian industrial standards.

Members of the delegation had meetings with 41 individual MPs, and several more MPs and staff joined the group for a natural gas-fired barbecue lunch in one of the Parliament courtyards.

Finding ways to ensure that as many people as possible in Parliament understand and appreciate our industry is one of APPEA’s critical objectives.

This visit was about having those who benefit from our industry’s development explain in their own words what the industry means to them, their businesses, and their communities.

At a time when some industries are struggling, the gas industry is currently investing around $200 billion in new projects that are set to underpin the Australian economy for many years. This unprecedented investment is estimated to have already created 100,000 jobs across the Australian economy and it will see our industry’s annual tax contribution rise from $8.8 billion to around $13 billion by the end of this decade.

Far from seeking government assistance, our industry is simply asking for a sensible and stable policy framework that can allow it to deliver sustained economic opportunity, new investment and new jobs. With effective regulation, efficient approvals processes, and stable tax settings, Australia could draw even more investment in the oil and gas sector and unlock valuable resources.

The industry potentially has more than $100 billion of investment growth to offer. The benefits to Australia in terms of export revenue, economic growth, regional development, and tax receipts could be substantial and long-lasting.

However, there are no guarantees. Some people don’t care enough about our economic future, about unnecessary regulation, or increasing global competition.

This visit highlighted what is at stake. It successfully introduced the industry and its supporters to new MPs and helped them understand that even if they do not actively support our industry, there are many reasons why they should, and there are many reasons why they should keep talking to us.