Government told gas companies to get on the phone to deal with national crisis
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Government told gas companies to get on the phone to deal with national crisis

David Littleproud, the leader of the new National Party, has called on the government to call gas companies during the country’s gas crisis.

Energy Secretary Chris Bowen will meet with state and area officials this week to address gas shortages and rising prices after blaming the current problems for the nearly decade the previous administration was in power.

Government told gas companies to get on the phone to deal with national crisis

But Mr. Littleproud said the new energy minister should focus on building relationships with gas companies to resolve these issues.

“The only lever Chris Bowen hasn’t been able to get is to pick up the phone and talk to the gas companies. That’s the action we’ve been able to take in the past because we had a relationship with them,” he told ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.

Camera icon Mr. Littleproud accused Labor of not being on the phone with gas companies. Photo: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

“We didn’t demonize them, we didn’t take them down, and when I hear Chris Bowen talk about, he’s going to talk to his state colleagues, why hasn’t he contacted the gas companies, the ones that actually drill and get the gas out and the put stock in the system?”

This is despite Mr. Bowen telling Sky News earlier on Sunday that Resources Secretary Madeleine King has spoken with Australian gas companies.

Mr. Littleproud further suggested that gas companies were angry after being “demonized” by the Labor government.

“The gas companies are high in the stirrups because they can see the price where they are,” he said.

“They’ve had a Labor opposition for nine years demonizing them and saying they were part of the problem in our emissions, and now want to turn around and befriend them when they need them.”

Camera IconAustralia is dealing with rising gas prices and supply problems. Credit provided: The Courier-Mail

He also suggested that gas companies could increase current inventories.

“They can increase the supply, and that’s where you have to have a relationship with them,” said Mr. Littleproud.

“With the support of sensible policy with the government, you can actually increase that supply. I’ve had detailed conversations with Angus Taylor, who assured me there are ways to increase that supply now.”

Mr. Bowen said the government was “actively managing” the energy crisis, and the Australian energy market operators in the South East had activated the gas supply guarantee to ensure adequate supplies.

Calls for him to use a “gas trigger” that would allow the government to reclaim gas exported for domestic use are growing.

Camera icon Mr. Bowen said activating the gas trigger would not be effective. Photo: NCA NewsWire/Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

But Mr. Bowen said this trigger was contagious because it was poorly set up by the coalition and wouldn’t go into effect until January 1.

“The way they designed the trigger… it’s about as blunt as a basketball in terms of short-term effectiveness. It is not the answer to this short-term crisis,” he said.

He also hit back at continued criticism from the opposition over his actions and possible lack of experience.

“Advice from the previous administration, which Angus Taylor has been happy to give — and I find Peter Dutton has — is about as effective as advice from the captain of the Titanic on navigational skills,” Bowen said.