Unlike premier’s B.C. LNG deal, Australia got guaranteed local jobs and environmental protection

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LNGAusFBThe B.C. Liberals said British Columbia’s LNG agreements “will be consistent with approaches previously adopted in Australia.”

Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman said in the legislature: “If you’re looking to do it right, you go and look at similar economies. Australia has a similar economy. They just developed an LNG industry, and they used project development agreements to help develop that industry.”

But an examination of Australia’s LNG agreements shows B.C. didn’t follow their lead when it comes to guaranteeing jobs or environmental protection:

Australia guarantees local jobs, B.C. doesn’t

  • Fact: Agreements like the Australian Gorgon LNG project contain clauses that guarantee jobs for Australians, saying the proponent must “use labour available within Western Australia.” Australia’s North West Shelf LNG agreement has the same provisions.
  • Fact: Christy Clark’s Petronas deal doesn’t have a single reference to guaranteeing jobs for British Columbians, and Petronas has already indicated they could use up to 70 per cent of workers from overseas.

Australia requires a buy local policy, B.C. doesn’t

  • Fact: The Australian Gorgon LNG agreement says the proponent must give “preference to Western Australian suppliers manufacturers and contractors when letting contracts or placing orders for works, materials, plant, equipment and supplies.” Further, they must,” use the services of engineers surveyors architects and other professional consultants experts and specialists, project managers, manufacturers, suppliers and contractors resident and available within Western Australia.” Australia’s North West Shelf LNG agreement has similar provisions.
  • Fact: Christy Clark’s agreement with Petronas makes no requirement to buy local products and services from B.C.. Petronas has already signaled they will be bringing engineering services from overseas.

B.C. gives away revenue, Australia doesn’t

  • Fact: The Australian Gorgon LNG agreement doesn’t give tax breaks and protection from future tax increases to the proponent for any length of time.
  • Fact: Christy Clark’s agreement with Petronas locks in the LNG income tax that was already cut in half, reduces the corporate income tax from 11 per cent to eight per cent and gives protection from LNG carbon tax increases for 25 years.

Australia agreements contain environmental benefits, B.C.’s doesn’t

  • Fact: The Gorgon LNG deal includes a clause where the proponent must pay tens of millions of dollars “for ongoing programs that will provide Net Conservation Benefits.”
  • Fact: Christy Clark’s Petronas LNG deal contains zero clauses that benefit or protect the environment, and protects the company from increased costs if B.C. moves to improve environmental regulations on the LNG industry for 25 years.

Quote from Bruce Ralston, New Democrat spokesperson on natural gas development: “New Democrats support LNG in B.C, but it has to come with a fair return for our resource, good jobs for British Columbians, and protection for our air, land and water. The Australian government signed those benefits into their agreements, but Christy Clark and the Liberals sold out British Columbians by giving all of that away with the Petronas deal.”