Tasmania committed to 2020 fracking moratorium

The government will not lift its moratorium on fracking, despite Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s call to the states to do more to facilitate gas exploration.

Mr Turnbull’s request comes after the Australian Energy Market Operator forecast gas shortages higher than previously predicted for the the country’s eastern states.

This would, in turn, lead to higher gas prices for industry.

Tasmania has a moratorium on fracking until 2020.

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Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the government would not budge on that commitment but would not confirm if it would be considered should the Liberals win another term in power.

“We have a moratorium in place, we stand by that, and I’m certain that if necessary we would consider extending that moratorium,” he said.

Opposition Leader Rebecca White said the ongoing delay in the gas supply contract renegotiation between Tasmania Gas Pipeline and Hydro Tasmania needed a swift resolution to avoid high price uncertainty.

"This is not just an issue for the industrials but for the small and medium businesses across the state that need to have surety of gas supply.”

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She said there were some businesses now looking at alternative energy options, which would involve additional costs to them, to avoid the uncertainty.

Mr Gutwein said he was certain that Hydro would resolve the situation soon in the “best interests of the state”.

The Tasmanian Energy Security Taskforce in its report released in August predicted gas prices for Tasmanian customers could rise by 50 per cent next year.

The pipeline also supplies gas to the Tamar Valley Power Station which is running at the moment to boost the state’s energy security.