Workshops: Tools for Surf Activists

Earlier this month, Patagonia launched a new campaign Big Gas Don’t Surf’ and began running a series of free, online workshops for surfers actively opposed to the projects. 

There are two more workshops coming up, which will focus on how locals can make positive change and oppose gas in the PEP11 zone, which spans the coast from Sydney to Newcastle.

December 2nd, 6-9pm – Newcastle & Central Coast, with Heath Joske, Lauren Hill & Belinda Baggs

December 7th, 6-9pm – Northern Beaches, with Dave Rastovich, Lauren Hill & Belinda Baggs

The interactive events bring together experienced trainers from the non-profit world and surf activists, to share their knowledge.

In recent years, surfers in Australia have been instrumental in saving great swathes of pristine coastline from development as oil and gas fields. The 'Fight for the Bight' saw tens of thousands of people paddle out to save the Great Australian Bight…and saw a movement come to life.

Now, Big Gas is making its last stand. As the world moves toward clean energy sources, fossil fuel giants are racing to develop new resources before their time runs out. For the surfers and coastal communities of Australia, that means gas rigs offshore from popular coastlines.

From Ningaloo to Newcastle, the people of our coast are standing up and paddling out for a natural coastline and a clean energy future.

Sean Doherty has penned a great primer on the offshore gas industry in Australia that delves into the two pivotal fronts on which we are initially focusing: The Otway Basin and PEP11.

"At a time when the rest of the world is already building clean energy systems for the future, Australia is stubbornly digging out more fossil fuels. Our reaction to the climate crisis is to go down a dead end of history, and for what? The gas cartel has looked after their own profits ahead of the Australian people. Most of the gas produced in Australia is exported; so much has been exported that in recent years Australia has at times had to import back the same gas it exported, paying a premium. So much gas is exported that the gas companies then cry “gas shortage” and lobby for more areas of the country to be opened up to development.

"Why has this been allowed to happen? In Australia it’s hard to tell where the government stops and the fossil fuel industry starts. Governments are stacked with connections to coal, oil and gas. There is also a steady flow of political donations going to both major political parties. The fossil fuel lobby has deep pockets and powerful friends, and as gas makes its last stand they’re not going quietly."


indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Tuesday, 30 Nov 2021 at 7:41pm

By all means if you dont want these rigs off you coast oppose them, each to their own.

But that last quoted statement in particular is inaccurate and misleading. (yes i read the whole linked article)

Firstly its claiming the rest of the world is building clean energy systems (the way i read it, implying we aren't)

This is incorrect we lead the world in roof top solar and per captia have the highest solar capacity in the world (ahead of Germany) and per captia 4th for wind generated energy, our overall renewable take up rate is about ten times the world average, storage wise on a global scale we are also aren't doing too bad (which global there is something like less than 30 seconds energy storage, so extremely early days in storage)

The statement is also implying (the rest of the world) doesn't need more gas because they are building clean energy, im sorry it doest work that way, its actually the opposite as we have seen in SA and many other places, once you build up solar and wind, gas becomes much more beneficial because, it's much quicker to fire up a gas peaking plant than a coal fired power station, plus gas peaking plants are very easily converted to run on hydrogen, so long term aren't a stranded asset.

Then latter in the same statement strangely whinge's about how all the gas is being sold overseas, yeah well hello that's because thats where the demand mostly is, a demand that has increased in recent times especially in developing countries, just from increased demand due to growing middle class or as countries look at quick ways to reduce emissions and move away from coal.

Germany generally consider a leader in Green energy is even looking at new gas plants (article from Oct 2021)
"Germany needs 20-30 GW of new gas plants to ensure supply security – RWE CEO"

Australia supplies fossil fuels to an overseas market purely because there is demand, they dont open new fields or rigs and somehow magically create demand, and in regard to gas that demand isn't disappearing overnight, it's hard to know exactly what to believe because you see a variety of projections but pretty much all projections see slight global demand increases to at least 2035 and then its a very gradual decline (unlike Coal), gas will also be the last fossil fuel phased out quite some time after coal is gone.

Global gas forecast

Jaspo's picture
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Jaspo Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 10:45am

you are an evolutionary dead-end

dandandan's picture
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dandandan Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 4:40pm

It's funny, but the second I saw this article I knew the first comment would be Indo finding a reason to tear it down.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 5:02pm

Yeah i really didn't want to be predicable and be the first to comment, i saw the article i think when i had a late lunch hoping others would comment first, but nobody had commented even by the time i posted at 7:41pm

I get that people are naturally going to be against these things, it's always the not in my backyard aspect, but I just get annoyed by the misleading and unrealistic spin that accompanies these articles, i'ts not really helpful.

BTW. Id expect people misunderstand my stance, I'm not pro fossil fuels, I'm all for renewables, but i just think people are unrealistic and dare i say uneducated about how the transition will happen not just in Australia but globally and just about energy security etc.

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radiationrules Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 at 11:04am

Indo-dreaming - I for one think your counter-arguments read as coherent...I can't say I'm on top of the facts you present, so wouldn't jump to validate your conclusions - but totally agree with the suggested outcome; that is solving the world's energy crisis is an evolution ~ not a revolution.

For example, Twiggy Forrest proposing to build a massive "green hydrogen plant" that destroys the Ningaloo coast can that be considered a holistic long-term solution? A snake oil salesman with a pair of two's getting our government to fund his next round with ace's; wherein his "ace's" are just paper-thin cards that blindside the dumb-arse proletariat whom read "green hydrogen" and think that equals "no more fossil fuels". I applaud you for inviting surfers to think more deeply.

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indo-dreaming Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 at 4:22pm

Cheers radiationrules.

Yeah i dont know a whole heap about the "Twiggy Forrest green hydrogen plant" or effect on the Ningaloo coast, but for the future of Green Hydrogen in Australia it has to be a positive him getting in on it surely must increase confidence in that area in Australia and help fast track things.

I personally cant get my head around there being an export market for Hydrogen long term, seeing it something any country can produce themselves that has water and renewables, but apparently the big advantage is getting in early.

.cylinders's picture
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.cylinders Friday, 3 Dec 2021 at 12:52pm

ID writes on this topic in the considered and concerned way that few people are willing to these days. Calling him an "evolutionary dead end" for posting an intelligent and thoughtful remark, full of referenced information and links, is the sort of polarised us-them thinking that does little to promote collaboration. I would counter that the real dead end of progress is contained within the mentality that all must agree, all must accept, and that any opposition to the approved worldview must be opposed. This style of thinking is what could lead us to the end of individuality, and in that lies the slow death of innovation, creativity, and human achievement.

I for one, see what ID wrote not as a rebuttal of all the contents of the article, but as a balanced addition of perspective to the conversation. We need not agree to appreciate the additional information. Thanks for ignoring the little voice that was in your ear telling you not to be the first. Self awareness and willingness to still do what we feel is right is the basis of love (for self, others, and life).

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bassnake Tuesday, 30 Nov 2021 at 7:41pm

how fucken hypocritical are surfers??
they are avid consumers of jet fuel, polyester resins and fuel for their various vehicles, inc jet skis

really I love our great big beautiful planet and especially the ocean that makes up 2/3 of the area, but hey temper the vitriol when you are intimately involved in the consumption of the very products you so despise
a reality check is badly needed, by all means protest againt bad projects but we are ALL using the very products which these companies produce for the world to consume, if you want a platform you would be far better of going after the over population- this is really killing the planet big time
cheers to all

.cylinders's picture
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.cylinders Friday, 3 Dec 2021 at 12:53pm

*some surfers

Vunerable's picture
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Vunerable Tuesday, 30 Nov 2021 at 8:31pm

Seriously ban the gas BBQ ??
Gas has been copping a lot of bad press.Some of the different types used are Natural gas, Liquefied petroleum gas, bio gas and hydrogen gas.A lot of developing parts of the world rely on bio gas for cooking and lighting.By harnessing waste they produce enough gas to maintain a basic standard of living.Producing gas commercially and connecting gas to peoples homes requires regulation.Recently there has been a scare campaign about natural gas cooking and heating hot water in homes.The climate council activists have encouraged local governments to ban gas connections in there search for the holy grail Carbon neutral.I have emailed them to explain their residential gas figures with no response. When a properly installed gas appliance is operated it produces water vapour and nitrogen.
Most modern gas heaters are room sealed sourcing combustion air from outside with little or no risk of carbon monoxide exposure as products of combustion are flued to outside.
The Australian residential Nat gas industry is heavily regulated.Thousands of licensed Plumber & gasfitters around Australia with years of experience and safety checks can advise householders on best practice.Recently in Victoria the Dandenong’s were affected by spring storms bringing down trees on powerlines. The area was without power for weeks.In cases like this it’s evident that dual energy supplies are necessary for cooking ,hot water and heating. Electricity and gas work very well together.Gas and carbon has always been and will be part of the natural life cycle.Never tried to light a fart.Hydrogen now is being touted because it can be shandied into the natural gas supply to produce an even cleaner burning gas. With our gas pipe networks in place connecting the suburbs and qualified plumbers jobs it seems like a crazy idea to ban residential gas. Again it seems the easiest way for local councils to tick off the holy grail of carbon neutral .Our electricity will appear with a magical tax the same as the electric cars. The electric car lithium ion batteries have a lifespan and hundreds of tons of acid waste requiring landfill.The UK has gone down the road of only renewables and they are suffering power outages weekly.Hey we ticked off that carbon neutral Gas is always going to be around long after we have finished arguing about it.Activism had a great recent triumph kicking the oil industry out of the bight and I applaud your efforts.

gedsta's picture
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gedsta Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 7:58am

"The UK has gone down the road of only renewables and they are suffering power outages weekly."

That's a very broad and highly inaccurate statement......Only renewables???
It's little more complex than that.
Currently in the UK one third of electricity supplies come from gas and accounts for the heating of 86% of homes. (New Scientist Sept '21). Gas supply issues across nth hemisphere and an increasing demand from Asia has seen gas prices quadrupled over the past year in the UK and in Sept this year prices for domestic gas rose 70% in a month (The Guardian Sept '21)
Couple that with a recent fire in a sub-sea power cable from France and the UK is in a world of power pain!

Leebo20's picture
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Leebo20 Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 7:05pm

Those switched use Heat pump hot water systems, induction good tops and inverter reverse cycle aircons

frog's picture
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frog Tuesday, 30 Nov 2021 at 9:55pm

Interestingly, the major global push to phase out fossil fuels has given nuclear power renewed momentum as a base load solution.

From pariah to saviour in 2 years.

Strange fruit indeed.

Leebo20's picture
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Leebo20 Tuesday, 30 Nov 2021 at 11:28pm

No protest for WA projects like Scarborough for Woodside and Barossa for Santos in NT.

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Spearman Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 7:48am

I agree with comments above about our need for a consistent energy supply and gas is cleaner than coal.
A gradual phase out is needed otherwise we will be paying more for our electricity.
However something many of our population may not know is that we are the second largest exporter of gas yet we are going to build an import terminal near Wollongong to import gas from asia because its cheaper.
Cartel best describes how the gas companies are fixing the price by claiming they have shortages which in turn excludes us aussies from cheaper electricity.
Yet we have some of the highest electricity costs in the world.
Write to your local MP and get this conversation out in the open.
If further gas drilling was for the domestic market and actually lowered the cost of electricity then bill payers may understand.
However you cant trust the government or the companies anymore to have the ‘public interest’ in mind so I believe it is time to stand up to them.
Good luck to all those involved, it would be good to see our population less apathetic.

Leebo20's picture
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Leebo20 Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 9:05am

The gas transition debate is dead.
Lots of companies world wide are bunny hopping gas and going straight to batteries.

Leebo20's picture
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Leebo20 Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 10:42am

Having worked in the industry too. It's a workplace full of bullshit artists too.
Definitely some Muppets working in it

Jaspo's picture
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Jaspo Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 10:42am

this comments section is a dumpster fire of stupidity.

"When a properly installed gas appliance is operated it produces water vapour and nitrogen." - this is barely even partially correct, wtf? where'd you get your science degree, the back of a cereal box? at minimum you're gonna end up with carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. even if flued, where do you think the gases go? do they magically disappear? fuck outta here, man.

"A gradual phase out is needed otherwise we will be paying more for our electricity." - you need to read more widely than you currently do, which i can only assume is zero reading, you dumbass. gradually phasing out fossil fuels is rhetoric invented by the dipshits who are losing money because they're too stupid to divest from fossil fuels. political inertia is the issue, not a fucking need for some transitional bullshit.

"The UK has gone down the road of only renewables and they are suffering power outages weekly" - show me one credible source that confirms this, you goddamn fetid lettuce leaf.

I don't even know where to start with Indo Dreaming but once again dude you have outperformed yourself for the dumbest fucking idiot commenter on any platform ever. What the fuck does this mean: "The statement is also implying (the rest of the world) doesn't need more gas because they are building clean energy, im sorry it doest work that way, its actually the opposite as we have seen in SA and many other places, once you build up solar and wind, gas becomes much more beneficial because, it's much quicker to fire up a gas peaking plant than a coal fired power station, plus gas peaking plants are very easily converted to run on hydrogen, so long term aren't a stranded asset." - was this written by a drunk six year old? it's the incoherent ramblings of a lunatic. "its [sic] actually the opposite as we have seen in SA and many other places". WHAT HAVE WE SEEN IN SA, INDO DREAMING?

y'all need to be neutered. or at least share your brain cells between yourselves when talking so you have a chance of forming a coherent fucking sentence.

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Smorto Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 11:44am

Well you're clearly the smartest commenter on Swellnet. Teach me more please because you're clearly better than the others.

I'm now going to go and buy some petrochemical based Patagonia product as that will clearly give me the moral high ground like you.

That along with throwing personal insults at those who attempt to present logical arguments that may differ from mine. Whether they are right or wrong, personal attacks are always the best way to substantiate your point of view.

Throwing out an ALL CAPS line is also a very articulate method of substantiating your position, particularly after your intelligent correction of the missing apostrophe from the line you quoted, despite your comment being riddled with similar errors.

wax-on-danielson's picture
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wax-on-danielson Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 at 1:54pm

That last paragraph was a literary K-POW!! Killer use of the Queen’s language dude.

Smorto's picture
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Smorto Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 at 7:48pm

Haha genuinely can't gauge the level of sarcasm in that response.

If its low, then cheers dude! If its high, well then yes I admit it was wordy, but I write for a living and may have gotten into work mode with that comment.

Come on man he used a (sic) when quoting Indo because he didn't put an apostrophe on "it's". Such a pedantic correction, I needed to come back at him with a well worded response.

Regardless, that guy's comments are full of insults and light on facts.

wax-on-danielson's picture
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wax-on-danielson Friday, 3 Dec 2021 at 8:21am

No sarcasm. I’m going to copy and paste that paragraph and send it to people I don’t like regardless of context or relevance.

Spearman's picture
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Spearman Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 12:00pm

Apologies Jaspo didnt realise we had such authority in the comment section as yourself.

If you slowed yourself down and read more widely you would understand an abrupt stop of gas to supply electricity through renewables would distort our bills. A phase out is needed. As I mentioned the lack of trust / inertia from government to do anything requires us to protest.
Give me 100% renewables any day.
Our current infrastructure cannot handle solar as it is and you think all these upgrades are free?
No additional cost to the consumer? Wanker!

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 4:40pm


Personal insults are easy and lazy, if you are so clever and knowledgeable on the topic why don't you actually prove my points wrong and play the ball instead of the man?????

Tassie aside that has very large amounts of hydro, SA is the most progressive state in Australia in regard to renewables during the day it gets most of its energy from renewables, here is a typical snap shot taken at 3:30, once dark i will take another one and post below. (and you will see how much gas they use during the night)

Sorry cut of the key thing.
Black & Brown=Coal
Yellow=Small solar
Orange=Large Solar
Purple= liquid fuel (diesel)
Pink=battery storage

As you can see even during the day, gas is used all around Australia when needed to support other energy sources, in SA it's currently a critical part of supporting renewables and will be for quite some time, because the reality is batteries and other storage like pumped hydro take time to build up and are expensive.

Yeah batteries are getting cheaper, but they are not the be all and end all, and reality is we will need reliable back up energy sources to support solar and wind for some time, that will be gas. (at least until we have huge excess amounts of renewables to produce Green Hydrogen)

Anyway look forward to debating this with you, but how about we drop the pointless name calling.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 at 5:58am

Here's the latter energy use taken just after the sun went down at 9:30, as you can see SA is then running mostly on gas(even WA and QLD increased gas at this point to cover the vanishing solar), if no gas= no electricity the only alternative would be to import energy from Vic by starting up more boilers burning coal but this takes hours even gas takes a little time (you need to get water boiling to spin turbines) but no where as much as getting coal boilers heated up and generators online, hence the big advantage of gas over coal (emissions aside)

BTW. the tiny bit of stored battery energy as you can see vanished very quickly (its currently mostly for grid stabilisation anyway)

This is reality at least for now and at least for quite some time, one day things will be different but to build up the storage needed not just 10 hours you need days to weeks storage (unless you have a back up energy supply as a safety net) will take a very long time.

It's not as easy as many make out, hence why gas will play an important part for some time and is actually an important key part in getting rid of coal and transitioning to renewables.

The other issue is the more renewables we have during the day the more costly and less efficient coal becomes, because you cant just start and stop boilers easily so you need to keep some going during the day by 2025 we will hit 100% renewables during the day at times, already hit 50% regularly this year Australia wide.

This factor will most likely fast track coal power plants closer as they will be losing monet, but then you get back to the storage issues, you can just flick switch, again this is where gas will come in.

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Clivus Multrum Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 10:57am

Good campaign. Great work Sean Doherty et al

More tubes please's picture
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More tubes please Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 2:44pm

If these surf industry muppets had any balls, they’d put on a few workshops in Karratha. Then they could explain to all the surfers employed by the oil and gas industry why they should give up their livelihoods, while pro surfers keep chasing swells around the world and brands keep pumping out excess crap in developing nations to keep shareholders happy.

I’m in the oil and gas industry and from what I can see this whole thing has a big NIMBY flavour to it. I don’t agree with drilling in the bight or off Newy but at least I can acknowledge it’s a NIMBY thing.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 3:22pm

Yes! Activists' caravan to Karratha to tell them how to work and live

Stock up on the popcorn

Leebo20's picture
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Leebo20 Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 7:08pm

If you don't agree with drilling off Newy, then your a NIMBY too

More tubes please's picture
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More tubes please Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 7:18pm

That’s what I said. I’m a NIMBY but I can admit it

Vunerable's picture
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Vunerable Wednesday, 1 Dec 2021 at 3:22pm

Gasfitters commission gas appliances when installed As previously stated correctly operating gas appliance does not produce carbon monoxide. Otherwise yellow flame or carbon deposit is produced. Carbon monoxide testing at commissioning stage will Capture the carbon monoxide in a parts per million reading. It’s something that’s carried out every day by licensed individuals any carbon monoxide measurement is treated as a failed test and the correct follow up action is taken.The only appliance that produces carbon monoxide purposely is a gas log fire to create the yellow flame due to an air mixture ratio.Keep eating your cereal sweetie

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GuySmiley Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 at 7:09am

Gas is just another fossil fuel.

The world needs to stop using fossil fuels.

The reason these rigs are being proposed is federal govts of both colours (1) allowed contracts to sell all our gas overseas without keeping some in reserve for domestic consumption and (2) built the east coast gas pipeline network that allows eg Victorian gas to flow to Qld before being put on a ship out of the country.

These contracts and arrangements unlike any other gas producing /exporting country in the world give us Australians the owners of the gas very little tax or royalties.

Expanding gas exploration in AU isn’t needed but it’s such a gravy train of greed and cheap easy money for the fossil fuel industry why not?

Australia, the Lucky Country?'s picture's picture Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 at 10:54am

we need to Collectively reduce our carbon emissions or we will suffer the consequences backed by science and data..
Obviously we all have a massive role to play however if you’re not listening to activism your a muppet! and are contributing to the demising economic, environmental and social structures we currently exist in.

Im open to alternative energy

bbbird's picture
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bbbird Saturday, 4 Dec 2021 at 12:00pm

It is a heated topic for a hot planet. Can we humans reduce consumption before cooking the earth?
There is disconnection by powerful distractions & desires; robbing our senses & connection to nature.
Maybe thats why we need / love surfing on those smooth ocean swells?

Anyways, Im open to openess; ( & back to the mud slinging) ... the dirty gas deal$ could be concern for self interested Australians.

The current Govt is legally trying to stop everyone knowing that Australian spiesasis, had planted bugging devices in E Timor Govt offices in 2004 during sensitive negotiations over multibillion-dollar undersea oil fields. SMH 6th Oct 2021

"Australia and China signed a series of agreements for closer ties between the two nations, including a $35 billion deal with Woodside to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG).
" Mr Howard says the gas deal underscores the relationship between the two countries.
"China's growth is not only good for China, but it is good for the whole world," he said. 6 Sep 2007

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been forced to arm-wrestle big gas-producing companies into agreeing in Sept 2017 to provide enough supply for the Australian market to avert a predicted shortfall, with consequent price hikes - over the next two years.

Shortermism sales are easier than a sustainability plan. Whats your plan?