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The Federal Government is exploring options for a prospective national gas reservation scheme as part of its plan for energy affordability and recovery from the COVID-19 recession.

A gas reservation issues paper has been released for public consultation and the Government seeks information and feedback for consideration, and follows the recent announcement of the Federal Government’s plan for a gas-led recovery.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said the paper will explore possible costs and benefits of a gas reservation scheme and strongly encouraged stakeholders to make a submission.

“The Government will consider issues including certainty of supply and investment confidence in our oil and gas industry in assessing options for a national gas reservation scheme,” Mr Pitt said.

“To do this, we will consult extensively with stakeholders – including states, territories, industry and gas users – before a final decision is made.”

Mr Pitt said that other actions the Government has implemented to date had assisted in lowering gas prices and ensuring gas supply.

“Both the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have found the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM) to be effective in this regard with supply assured to 2021, which is why I have not triggered the ADGSM,” Mr Pitt said.

“However, I want to ensure the continued effectiveness of the ADGSM.

“The ACCC Netback Price will also be a reference point for what is a fair price for domestic gas.”

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, noted the importance of securing domestic supply for driving down prices.

“It is essential we consider all of the policy options available that could help to ensure Australian gas is working for all Australians,” Mr Taylor said.

“Gas prices and security affects the productivity and competitiveness of Australian industry. We will work with industry and consider all feedback to ensure both gas producers and users can thrive.”

Consultation on a new Heads of Agreement will commence shortly.

Submissions on the reservation policy paper close on 27 November 2020.

The issues paper can be found and submissions made at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ Consultation Hub.

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