Gas contributes over $70 billion to Australia's national economy

07 November 2022 2 min. read
More news on

Gas generates over $70 billion-a-year in domestic economic activity to underpin 3.4% of GDP, while supporting 241,600 Aussie jobs, according to economic research by ACIL Allen Consulting commissioned by Gas Energy Australia.

The report sheds light on the important contribution gas makes to the national economy, at a time when several political groups are lobbying to reduce the country’s production / use of gas while speeding up the transition to renewables.

At over $40 billion and 109,284 Aussie jobs, gas production is the dominant part of the ‘gas economy’, followed by chemical feedstock for manufacturing ($7.7 billion), high temperature manufacturing ($5.1 billion), and electricity generation ($4.1 billion).

A summary of the estimated gas economy by state, 2020-21

“Either for industrial heat in excess of 800 degrees Celsius, which electricity cannot muster, to process the things we all use like glass, bricks, ceramics and alumina, or as a feedstock (ingredient) in making plastics, fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, rubber, propellants, refrigeration, adhesives, cosmetics, to list just a few… gas cannot be replaced,” said Brett Heffernan, CEO of Gas Energy Australia.

The chief executive added that the $70 billion estimate by ACIL Allen Consulting is on the conservative side, “as they do not include the commercial use of gas in the economy, such as cafes, restaurants, forklifts and the like.”

A state-by-state analysis reveals that Queensland and Western Australia are the powerhouse states for gas activity – 160,000 of the circa 241,000 jobs are based in the two states.

Looking ahead, Heffernan contested that “gas is here to stay”, although the focus of gas activity will gradually shift from traditional sources towards renewable net zero gases.

Total economic contribution of the Australian gas economy, by state, 2020-21

“Biomethane, from organic waste, is already being produced around Australia and used for generating electricity. The next step is to tap into gas networks to decarbonise, with Sydney Water and Jemena now working to inject biomethane into the gas distribution network.”

“Produced in perpetuity, emerging green gases can supply existing home appliances and commercial equipment, while hydrotreated vegetable oil [a diesel-like fuel that processes renewable waste to make sustainable aviation fuel] will provide plentiful opportunities for transport sectors.”

Meanwhile, traditional gas will continue to be needed to “fill the void left by coal’s rapid departure and fill inevitable gaps that are inherent to renewable energy sources.”