Greens call for acceleration of gas code of conduct

Australian Greens

The Greens have called for the rapid introduction of an interim Mandatory Code of Conduct with teeth for gas companies, to lay bare the excuses these massive corporations are using to justify wielding their market power to the detriment of climate and consumers.

Gas companies are reportedly refusing to sign up new commercial customers, threatening blackouts and skyrocketing prices, attempting to cause chaos in retaliation to the Government’s price caps on gas.

The Greens say with no set deadline on the introduction of the code of conduct, but with repeated and growing cartel-like behaviour by the gas industry, parts of the Code should be implemented immediately. Consultation on the final code does not close until February 7.

Separately, the ACCC has on Tuesday issued its interim compliance and enforcement guidelines for the gas industry.

Attributable to Senator Mehreen Faruqi, acting Leader of the Australian Greens:

“Gas companies are trying to hold the country hostage, sparking chaos in the energy sector and anxiety for ordinary people already experiencing intense cost of living pain – as a retaliation for Government efforts to rein in their never-ending profiteering,” Senator Faruqi said.

“The Labor Government must immediately intervene with an interim code of conduct to make sure that gas corporations can’t hide behind this excuse to cause chaos in the energy sector by arbitrarily withholding supply, and overcharging the country for its own gas.

“This needs to be an inflection point where we move away from dirty, expensive gas, instead of allowing them to hide behind flimsy excuses while threatening to cause chaos in energy markets.

“When a corporation is threatening people with withholding power unless they’re allowed to charge whatever they want, there is no point negotiating with them. They are drunk on market power that they’ve been allowed to wield unchallenged for years.

“Big gas corporations like Woodside and Santos are making obscene, five-fold profits. They are turbocharging natural disasters that cost Australia $5 billion in just one year according to Treasury. The Tax Office has labelled them ‘systemic non-payers of tax’ and in most cases they don’t even pay any royalties.

“For the sake of people and planet, we have to get out of coal and gas.”

Attributable to Senator Dorinda Cox, Australian Greens Resources Spokesperson:

“We urgently need a code with teeth, and regulatory authority that stops this constant public power game between the Federal Government and industry.

“Right now, Australians across the country are under pressure from rising costs of living, and suffering natural disaster-related loss and damages. Meanwhile, gas companies are threatening power outages and price spikes just to protect their bottom line, what the government’s own Minister calls ‘Putin profits’.

“Labor talked a big game during the election, promising to end the climate wars. Now they need to step up, be courageous, and stop the gas industry from dictating the rules.”

/Public Release. View in full here.