Scott Morrison

UPDATED 8.55 PM 15 September 2010. The prime minister’s Scott Morrison’s “gas-led recovery” is charging full steam ahead, with the government throwing $52.9 million at a bunch of gas projects despite advice from energy experts, such as AEMO, to prioritise renewables to bring costs and emissions down.

Unless AGL replaced its Liddell coal-fired power station, this will include construction of a new gas-fired power station in the NSW Hunter Valley, as well as five new gas fields and more pipelines to transport gas around the place.

Not only is this a move widely condemned by environmental groups to mitigate climate change and a range of other environmental impacts, it’s a lacklustre job creator.

In fact, a report released in July by The Australia Institute and the Australian Conservation Foundation found that the industry only employs 0.2 per cent of all Australian workers despite being the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

“Investing recovery funds in virtually any other industry would create more jobs,” the report stated.

For every million dollars of sales income, only around 0.4 jobs are created on mining gas compared to the average for all Australian industries is 3.4 jobs.

When looking at labour intensity, the report found oil and gas mining the single most job poor industry subcategory, behind the rest of the mining sector and even gas supply.

This hasn’t been lost on other environmental groups, such as 350.org Australia.

“The gas industry is one of the least job intensive industries and gas power stations provide very few long-term jobs,” Shani Tager, 350.org’s campaigner said on Tuesday.

“This funding could create high quality, long-term jobs if it was put directly into manufacturing or other sectors that have been most impacted by the economic crisis.

“It’s outrageous that the prime minister is wasting public money on the dirty gas industry and talking about building a new gas-fired power station when renewable energy is cheaper, cleaner and ready to go.”

UPDATE: In late breaking news KPMG Australia’s head of oil & gas Jonathon Peacock sent out the following note of support for the government’s gas plans. No mention of the impact on the environment. No mention of the low number of jobs to be created by this expenditure of taxpayer dollars. And no mention that no-one of any consequence any longer mentions coal. Only publicly funded support for a fuel source nobody wants. Ask the property industry. Not interested – ed.

“KPMG Australia welcomes federal government’s Australian Gas hub announcement

As the energy sector continues to transform, we can expect further positive focus on gas supply and integration across supply chains from this year and into 2021 and beyond.

Gas has a critical role in firming energy supply and can serve as a vital bridge as government and business develop alternatives to traditional energy forms.

Specifically, the proposed gas power station and an increase of focus on the Wallumbilla Gas Hub represent a practical long term answer to ensuring stability.

A key determinant of the value of this step will be the input cost of gas and the ability to provide competitively priced gas  for the domestic market. 

We support the government’s view that low gas prices also drive down electricity pricing.

Indeed, through its announcement today, government has emphasised the importance of addressing energy pricing – now and for the future.

Furthermore, we believe the current heavy reliance on CSG in Queensland and the challenge of supplying the domestic and LNG markets will drive the need to explore other basins to increase supply options.

This further supports the impetus for the development of new gas fields in South East Australia.”

Job movements

University of Melbourne has welcomed Indigenous author and advocate Bruce Pascoe as Melbourne Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences.

In the new role, the author of renowned non-fiction book Dark Emu, will help build knowledge and understanding of Indigenous agriculture within the faculty and to grow engagement and research activities in this area.

Since writing the book in 2014 that challenged the notion that First Australians were hunter-gatherers, Mr Pascoe has been producing flour and bread using traditional Aboriginal techniques at his farm in East Gippsland, Victoria.

Environmental technology company Envirosuite has recruited a new chief executive officer, Jason Cooper.

Mr Cooper was formerly working for Santa Clare-based company IoTium and before that Switch Automation. He started the Melbourne-based role in July.

Sustainable Australia Fund marketing and communications manager, Charlie Syme, has taken a role with Renewable Energy Hub, a marketplace for hedge contracts designed for clean energy technologies.

Australian architecture firm Billard Leece Partnership has freshened up its leadership team. 

The social infrastructure-focused practice has appointed a new managing director, Tara Veldman, following the recent retirement of MD David Leece.

The board has appointed 12 principals and 11 associates as its new leadership team. Principals includes Ron Billard, Tara Veldman, Mark Mitchell, Adam Muggleton, Tonya Hinde, Emily Gilfillan, Raj Senanayake, Ken Tsen, Matthew Hughes, Paul Longridge, Ariel Lopez, and Shane Wood.

Ms Veldman has worked at the global architecture practice for nine and a half years, and was instrumental in establishing the Sydney office over and building the studio to 70 staff.

The firm has been involved in a range of health, schools and tertiary projects, including

the soon to be completed Campbelltown Hospital (mid 2021), and the University of Sydney Health Precinct, a project in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Our pick of the jobs – for our Victorian friends

Fancy yourself a handyman or woman? Bunnings is looking for a sustainability lead, to be based in Melbourne.

acre is recruiting a full-time farm manager to operate and oversee its nature-based roof­top farm at Burwood Brickworks, which is aiming to be the first retail development in the world to achieve Living Building Challenge, in Melbourne’s East.

Sustainable building design and assessment company Ark Resources is looking for an experienced ESD/Green Star professional with experience in Victoria.

City of Greater Geelong needs a new environmental planning officer to respond to planning referrals and provide policy and technical advice on a range of environmental issues, including biodiversity conservation, stormwater management and sustainability. 

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  1. Scott Morrison’s is going to use taxpayers money in an attempt to fix up poor decisions made by the gas industry.
    Why throw good money after bad decisions gas companies? That just throws more money at risk and in all likelihood will not bring down gas prices for Australians.
    So why would you waste taxpayers money backing a loser? Scott Morrison is.
    Two arguments for gas led recovery by Morrison don’t cut it.
    He claims we need gas for electricity generation. No AEMO says we can do this with renewables plus they have the evidence to support this claim. Does Morrison’s have Treasury’s evidence to support his claim?
    To we need dispatchable power yes but this is easily achieved by putting battery storage in at a fraction of the cost according to some economists. Batteries provide instantaneous power avoiding blackouts. SA batteries have done this on numerous occasions. Interesting to note that some gas fired power stations only operate for 2 hours per day, why because it is cheaper to use existing solar and wind because gas is too expensive to use.

    1. I agree, this would be a total waste of taxpayers dollars. It will both force us to stick with a very bad path for climate change and give us a very soon to be stranded asset. There is so few jobs in gas and it has been one of the major influences in the higher power prices for Australia. We would be far better spending that money on real jobs, even encouraging people to get rid of their domestic gas supply in favour of all electric homes. Things like Heat pump hot water and RCAC have been shown to be far more efficient and cheaper to run than the poisonous gas we currently have. For those of us that are home chefs or great cooks induction today offers far more controlled cooking than gas and has become the preferred option for many once they have tried it. Encouraging industry back to Australia, like building batteries and EV’s. Renovating homes to make them more efficient and putting more money into renewables and storage either in homes or on a larger scale will be a cheaper and better way of Dealing with both balancing the grid and dealing with the shortfall created by Liddells closure.