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What’s driving the Federal Government’s push for a gas-fired future? on FOUR CORNERS

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Fired Up: What’s driving the Federal Government’s push for a gas-fired future

“You’ve got to do it with gas. You’ve got to do it with gas!” 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison couldn’t be clearer. As the country grapples with the twin challenges of recovering from the COVID-19 recession and the transformation of our energy system, he says gas is the key to Australia’s economic future.

“Gas…is helping to drive more affordable, reliable energy in this country. It can help us to bring down emissions. It’s the perfect complement to intermittent renewables.” 

Federal minister

The Federal Government is promising a gas-led recovery that will turbocharge Australian manufacturing and provide reliable and affordable power to households as our reliance on coal winds back. But not everyone is convinced.

“Those people defending old technologies are the equivalent of defending Blockbuster in a Netflix world.”  

State energy minister

On Monday Four Corners investigates what is driving the Federal Government’s push for a gas-fired future in the face of considerable scepticism.

“Ten years ago we were talking about gas as a transition fuel… Now we’re talking about switching from coal to renewables with batteries and that’s happened extraordinarily fast.”  

Corporate investment adviser

Featuring interviews with key players in Australia’s energy business, from the Government’s hand-picked special adviser to gas company leaders and the nation’s energy security chief, the program interrogates the case for gas.

“We’re in the middle of history defining energy transition. And to not develop gas to replace coal is a travesty. To not develop gas to add value to it to create jobs in Australia and let that gas just sit there is another travesty.” 

Government energy adviser

The program scrutinises the claims made about job generation, pricing and whether the government is backing the wrong technology.

“Let’s get the facts on the table. Using gas to create electricity is a really expensive way to do it.   If you’re interested in driving down electricity prices then you’d be mad to use gas.” 

State energy minister

Four Corners investigates the criticism that the gas industry has an undue influence over government policy and explores the role of political donations.

“The access we get to both sides of politics is important to us from the point of view that we get to state our case, right? And that’s no different to any other industry or any other company that does the same thing.” 

CEO

Some warn that the public is not being fully informed about the costs involved in backing gas.

“They should be upfront with the Australian public. Someone’s got to pay for it. So why would they be exposing taxpayer dollars, or those that pay higher electricity prices for infrastructure that’s not needed?”  

State energy minister

Given the critical role energy plays in every aspect of our economy, this is a must watch guide to an issue that will help define Australia’s future. 

It is replayed on Tuesday 13th April at 1.00pm and Wednesday 14th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners

FOUR CORNERS: FIRED UP – Monday 12 April 2021 at 8:30pm AEST on ABC and iview

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