Labor plans to introduce export controls that would be activated when gas prices get too high, to drive down prices for Australian manufacturers, if it wins the federal election.
The so-called permanent gas export control trigger could include putting third-party gas supplies back into the domestic market to drive down costs, under the policy.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the cap on gas prices – which would trigger the export controls – would be based on a benchmark set by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
“Labor will introduce a permanent gas export control trigger, that can be pulled when gas prices are too high, not just when a gas shortfall is forecast,” Mr Shorten said in a statement on Monday.
“Labor is acting because we’re focused on protecting local jobs and making energy more affordable.”
Domestic needs will also be taken into consideration under a National Interest Test to apply to all new LNG export facilities or significant expansions of existing facilities.
An expert panel, a Domestic Gas Review Board, will be established to oversee the National Interest Test and the permanent gas export control trigger.
As well, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would be given new powers to crack down on anti-competitive behaviour.
Manufacturing Australia executive director Ben Eade said competitive gas prices were crucial to supporting industry jobs.
“The measures announced today would strengthen existing gas export controls and put rigour around what constitutes a fair price for domestic gas,” he said in a statement.
“That’s very important to securing the next generation of manufacturing jobs and investment in Australia.”