Western Australia's Govt Commits to Long Term Gas Supply

The State Government announced today it will start immediately to implement recommendations that ensure Western Australia is better equipped to handle future gas shortages.


They were outlined in the joint Government and industry Gas Supply and Emergency Management Committee (GSEMC) report, based on a review into the State's preparedness for gas supply disruptions.


Energy Minister Peter Collier called for the review after two gas supply disruptions in 2008 highlighted major deficiencies in WA's ability to respond to such incidents.


"The previous Labor government failed to develop appropriate strategies for the State to handle major disruptions of this nature, which impacted not only the energy industry but also other sectors such as building, mining and small business," Collier said.


"The committee's recommendations aim to mitigate the impact of gas emergency situations and ensure that WA is in a stronger position to co-ordinate and manage a Government and industry response to any future supply disruptions.


"The recommendations support the Liberal-National Government's objectives to provide secure, reliable, competitive and cleaner energy supply to meet the needs of the community and support WA's growing economy."


Key recommendations from the GSEMC report included implementing:


  • strategic and operational plans endorsed by the committee to respond to gas supply disruptions
  • regulatory frameworks to assist in the development of gas contingency services in the electricity and gas markets
  • a range of gas market arrangements to improve the security, reliability and competitiveness of the domestic gas supply market in WA.


The Minister said while it was not possible to guarantee that disruptions to gas supply did not occur, the Government had introduced initiatives to help lessen potential impacts.


"The Government has taken a strategic approach to ensure WA is better prepared for any future gas supply shortages while also providing secure energy supply to meet the growing needs of the community," he said.


"For example, State Parliament recently passed the Gas Supply (Gas Quality Specifications) Act 2009, allowing for the development of a greater range of gas fields to supply the domestic market.


"I am also leading the development of the Strategic Energy Initiative, which will provide a clear and co-ordinated direction for the State's energy sector.


"As a responsible Government, we must deliver a reliable and secure energy supply while Australia moves towards providing a cleaner energy future."


The Office of Energy will co-ordinate planning to implement the committee's recommendations, which will involve further stakeholder consultation on the new electricity and gas market initiatives.