APPEA Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch congratulates Labor on

The nation’s oil and gas lobby has called on the incoming Labor government to recognise the crucial role that fossil fuels play in New South Wales.

The message to Labor from the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) comes after repeated warnings of higher electricity bills for households and businesses.

In a statement APPEA congratulated Chris Minns, after he ended 12 years of Coalition dominance in the country’s biggest state.

However Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch said Mr Minns must now provide a clear strategy to promote investment to avoid the forecasted shortfalls.

“New South Wales is a big gas user but has left its own reserves in the ground and outsourced its energy security, exacerbating the cost-of-living pressures on NSW households and businesses,” she said.

“Bans and regulatory uncertainty have made new supply investment very difficult and left users paying $2/GJ extra when gas is transported from Queensland, often over untapped NSW reserves.

“The new government needs to recognise the key role of natural gas in a cleaner energy future as identified by international and national energy authorities and echoed by the Prime Minister.

“The state needs to provide a clear strategy to promote investment in new supply in order to help avoid forecast shortfalls in the east coast energy market and put downward pressure on prices.

“This could include fast-tracking new supply options like the long-delayed Narrabri Gas Project, which could supply enough natural gas to meet up to half of the state’s gas demand.”

Earlier this month the Australian Energy Market Regulator (AER) revealed its draft default market offer, which showed household electricity bills could increase by between 19.5 per cent and 23.7 per cent, while business owners can expect rises from 14.7 per cent to 25.4 per cent.

The default market offer is the maximum price charged to households and small business customers in New South Wales, South Australia and south-east Queensland who are on standing deals and have not sought out a cheaper option.

Federal Parliament was recalled before Christmas to pass emergency legislation to lower energy prices through a $125 per tonne cap on coal – to be imposed by Queensland and New South Wales – and a $12 a gigajoule limit on gas for 18 months.

The Coalition voted against the energy package which also provided $1.5 billion in federal assistance for bill relief, calling for the government to split the legislation as it did not support the price cap on gas.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has defended his market intervention last year amid the warnings from the AER.

He told Parliament last week that the projections would instead be higher if his government hadn’t acted.

It’s been estimated the AER’s projection will impact about 600,000 residents across the three states, with a decision on the final figure to be made in May.

AER chairwoman Clare Savage noted the rise could have been much worst had it not been for the energy market intervention, adding prices appear “to have stabilised” in recent months.

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