The unwelcome report was held up and wheeled out on January 3, and it got very little coverage. People suspect that was just what the Prime Minister’s office intended, because the conservative Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics had gone off-script.
BREE’s racily titled Eastern Australia Domestic Gas Market study had put up in headlights the rather controversial idea that the gas market was opaque and anti-competitive, and it needed reform. As expected BREE took a non-intervenionist approach, deftly rejecting calls for reservation of gas for domestic use — a policy that has been implemented successfully in Western Australia without any impact on investment, was recommended by a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry, and exists among many gas exporters overseas, including the United States and Canada. Then BREE provided an alternative: