Transcripts Media


20 November 2023

Kieran Gilbert:

The draft legislation for the Government’s changes to the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax, the draft legislation released last week. The Coalition is it going to back the changes? Just, pointing out for our viewers that the industry wants the amendments to go ahead. Will the Coalition support it?

Ted O’Brien:

Good to be with you again, Kieran. We’ve been very clear with the government from the get go when it announced that it is interested in reviewing the PRRT and adjusting it, that we are happy to engage constructively. As always, you know, we’ll be critical where we must but we all will also be constructive where we can. And the problem we’ve had, though, is the government hasn’t been answering the questions that we’ve been asking about their proposed change. Nevertheless, we have sent a letter to the government, making it clear that we stand ready to cooperate with them. But what we want to see is a future for gas in this country. And that is going to require some changes from the government’s end if they are wanting our assistance to facilitate passage through the parliament.

Kieran Gilbert:

So you’re not going to block, you’re not saying flat out, you’re going to block this change which.. let’s be frank, if the government doesn’t get it done with you, they might have to get it done with the Greens and I don’t think the industry would be very pleased with that outcome?

Ted O’Brien:

Look I’ll leave it to others to sort of, you know, do some commentary on on different scenarios, where our head is at is what’s in the interest of ensuring that the price of power for consumers and businesses comes down. That as we move into the future, not only can we have affordable power, but we can still have the lights coming on and industry powering in Australia. To achieve those fundamental goals Kieran, we need gas. And the problem we have had is the Albanese government has been doing everything to kill off the gas industry. And as a result, they’ve been seeing supply come short, investment stall. Now they’re wanting to introduce changes to the PRRT. And what we are saying is if you want our help with that, then we need to ensure that we have improved approvals for gas projects, that there is greater certainty for investors in the sector, that there is clarity to the process, and that funding for infrastructure for gas projects are not held up by government. I think they’re fair requests. They’re modest. But again, it’s it’s in the government’s court, are they prepared to cooperate with the Coalition or not?

Just on another matter, the nuclear  NewScale small modular reactor, the government had a crack at you last week saying that this was the example that the Coalition had referred to, in terms of saying that this does stack up. Well, it hasn’t, it’s fallen over in the United States. Are you having second thoughts about your support for this small modular reactor technology?

Ted O’Brien:

Kieran, it doesn’t surprise me that the government still acts as if they are running a negative opposition line. At the end of the day over the last couple of months. If there’s one place I’ve spoken about publicly more than anywhere, it’s the Province of Ontario in Canada, they have quadrupled their order for small modular reactors. The fact that one of 70 odd SMR companies loses a major customer as has sadly been the case with NuScale. That doesn’t change the facts as we see across the world. As countries want to get power prices down and ensure reliability and energy security, they’re embracing zero-emissions nuclear energy. The question is, why won’t the Albanese government even contemplate this possibility? If you apply Labor’s logic here, you know, one customer doesn’t go well for one provider of a particular technology, you’d be knocking out everything you’d be knocking out wind because Siemens the biggest world’s biggest supplier, wants a $16 billion pound guarantee from its government, you’d say no to hydro because Snowy Hydro has just doubled in price. I mean, you know, I think it’s false economics. And it just shows the shallowness of Labor’s approach. On the Coalition side, we believe in an “All-of-the-Above’ approach which we are continuing to do the heavy lifting on and nuclear is on the table.

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