A leaked draft interim report from the manufacturing taskforce of the national COVID-19 coordination commission has called for the creation of a competitive domestic gas market, including by taxpayers underwriting investment in opening new fields and building pipelines.
Backing for gas is also a headline item in a discussion paper on the government's technology investment roadmap, released today.
Former Dow Chemical boss Andrew Liveris leads the manufacturing taskforce of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, which was tasked with advice on how Australia can chart its way out of the economic downturn through manufacturing.
The interim report recommended removing "red and green tape" barriers to gas supply, including removing moratoria in NSW and Victoria and underwriting supply hubs to "create the market".
Australia's east coast states weren't competitive for new investment in gas, due to "onerous environmental restrictions and unpredictable and often duplicative legal rules," the report said.
Commissioner Neville Power, who is leading the coordination commission, is a former boss of Fortescue Metals and is currently deputy chair of Strike Energy, an oil and gas exploration company.
Greens senator Larissa Waters said, "It's no surprise that a gas-stacked commission with minimal conflict of interest rules has recommended more water- and farm-wrecking gas."
Independent MP Helen Haines Tweeted: "today, we learn of the government's secret, corporate-led plan for a fossil fuel based recovery. We have a choice in how we do business."