Claims by Queensland One Nation Leader Steve Dickson in today’s Courier Mail show the party is loose with the truth and continues to tie itself in knots over policies that will cost jobs and drive up the cost of energy.
Mr Dickson states: “they [the gas industry] don’t knock on One Nation’s door seeking to speak to Senator Pauline Hanson or myself because we cannot be bought and we are just too well informed on the issues.”
APPEA Queensland Director Rhys Turner said that this statement was factually incorrect as both he and the broader industry communicated and engaged with One Nation on a regular basis.
“Since February I have had numerous engagements with Mr Dickson, including formal correspondence, meetings and multiple phone calls about matters relating to the Queensland gas industry,” Mr Turner said.
“Only last week I spoke to Mr Dickson by phone and wrote to him offering a formal briefing on the impact of One Nation’s ill-conceived plan to ban gas development in the Cooper Basin despite the industry operating in the region safely for 40-years. On 10 March, I met with Mr Dickson in his electorate to brief him on private polling data, as we do with many stakeholders from time to time.
“Likewise, APPEA’s Canberra office has sought to engage with Senator Pauline Hanson, both directly and in writing, without success.
“In addition, Santos has previously hosted Queensland One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts and Queensland candidate Sharon Lohse on a tour of its operations.”
Mr Turner said that leaving aside the misleading claims made by One Nation about industry interactions, the real concern was One Nation’s anti-energy policies which would drive up power prices and kill jobs.
Industry data shows that – through direct, indirect and consumption based activities – the industry supported 60,582 jobs across the state. In 2016 alone, the industry generated economic activity valued at approximately $12.8 billion.
“In a miracle of economics, One Nation claims that it will bring gas prices down by banning gas production across most of Queensland,” Mr Turner said.
“While Mr Dickson should be congratulated for backflipping on his plan to lock-up the Cooper Basin, he must now explain how banning the natural gas industry in other parts of the state will protect jobs and keep downward pressure on energy prices, especially for the 800,000 Queensland households that use bottled or piped gas.”