Mike Gaffney pushes for gas exploration review

There are renewed calls for an inquiry into gas exploration in Tasmania as the federal government ramps up its calls for states to lift bans on the controversial energy.

Tasmania has a moratorium on gas exploration which is due to expire in 2020.

As the nation’s gas industry faces price increases and challenges, Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg called on states and territories to do more “to get more supply into the market”.

His comments follow those of Treasurer Scott Morrison who, in June, threatened governments with financial penalties – including the review into GST – if they limit fracking or gas exploration.

When asked about Mr Morrison’s threat, Treasurer Peter Gutwein said; “we won't be blackmailed into being silenced on the GST”.

As the federal government steps up its rhetoric around gas exploration, Independent MLC Mike Gaffney called for the state government to hold an inquiry into fracking and other gas exploration.

He said the government should not “sit back on and wait” for the moratorium decision to roll around before reviewing the issue.

“It’s so we’re not left in a situation where we have to rapidly rush around and find answers and look for reasons,” he said. 

Mr Gaffney questioned the viability of gas exploration, classing Tasmania as a “small region”.

“I just believe there are other forms of energy we can explore that are more environmentally friendly,” he said. ​

A spokeswoman for the government said there were “no plans” to reconsider the gas moratorium. 

Mr Frydenberg said “national solutions are required to national problems” such as high gas and electricity prices.