Shell Australia boss Andrew Smith says a ban on onshore gas exploration in Victoria will result in less jobs, and higher gas prices for consumers.
The Andrews Government in August announced a total ban on new onshore gas exploration, in a move which was heavily criticised by energy producers and the mining sector.
Smith, who met with other major gas suppliers and federal industry minister Greg Hunt this week, said the ban would raise gas prices, costing Victorian businesses and – as a result – jobs.
“Victorian businesses will pay more for gas, and jobs will be lost, because the government has banned gas exploration without any scientific basis,” Smith was quoted as saying by The Australian.
“Successive state governments, both Labor and Coalition, in Victoria and NSW have stifled the development of new gas supply despite scientific evidence it can be safely extracted,” he said.
“A majority of Australia’s population will pay for this in their energy bills going forward,” he added.
Smith has had some time to think, and has not changed his opinion since making his immediate response to the Victorian bans on August 30, when he said: “This decision made without any scientific basis puts the long term viability of Victoria’s affordable energy supply into question”.
“It will ripple through the state’s economy and impact on all large gas users including manufacturers, fertiliser producers and the construction industry,” he added.
When the ban was announced, Premier Andrews said the decision was putting the people of Victoria first.
“We promised to ban fracking and we’re getting it done,” he said. “We were elected to put people first – and that means supporting Victorian farmers, their families and regional communities by protecting their produce and our environment.”