Onshore Gas Key To New Opportunities
The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) has renewed its call for onshore gas exploration and extraction, and the exploration of unconventional gas, in order for Victoria to exploit high tech manufacturing opportunities.
AWU Victorian Secretary Ben Davis said statements this week that Western Victoria had ethane deposits which could lead to a major new plastics industry could not and should not be ignored.
“Exploration of unconventional gas reserves, where it can be done without fracking, should be undertaken as soon as possible and could open the way for Victoria to become a centre for plastics manufacturing,” Mr Davis said.
“We need exploration, we need strategic plans and we need major investment for the responsible use of our natural resources.”
BASF Australia Managing Director Ross Pilling was quoted this week as saying that the state’s deposits of ethane, which is a feedstock for ethylene, which is a building block for plastics, could lead to “world-scale” manufacturing investment and Victoria becoming the country’s “plastics capital”. His statements follow those of Dow Chemical Chief Executive Andrew Liveris who last month said there should be incentives for investment in local manufacturing using ethane.
“Unions and business have a common interest in seeing new industry take root in Victoria,” Mr Davis said. “We might disagree on some things, but we definitely agree that every opportunity, particularly in manufacturing should be investigated and acted upon wherever practicable.”
The wealth of onshore gas in the Otways provided a potential option for Geelong, which had suffered systematic job losses with more to come when Ford finally closes its doors later this year.
“There is a highly-skilled and experienced manufacturing workforce lying idle in Geelong. Governments at every level must act to open the door to new activity, new jobs and a renewed prosperity for the region,” Mr Davis said.
“We are still waiting for the State Government’s response to the parliamentary report regarding onshore unconventional gas, which the AWU believes highlighted the need for renewed exploration.
“This is not the time for governments to be sitting on their hands.”