FORMER shadow communications minister Jason Clare will replace Gary Gray as the shadow minister for resources in the lead up to the Federal election.
In comments sent to Oil & Gas Australia, Mr Clare said the appointment was an honour, describing it as one of the most important portfolios in government.
“Gary Gray did an outstanding job as both minister and shadow minister over the last three years,” he said.
“I look forward to meeting and working with the Australian companies involved in this important part of our economy.”
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) chief executive Malcolm Roberts said Mr Gray had made a significant contribution to the development of Australia’s oil and gas industry.
“His integrity, intelligence and pragmatic approach to policy are the hallmarks of a politician who always put the national interest first,” he said.
“Australia is set to become the world’s leading LNG producer within a few years. Gary can retire knowing he played a big part in that success.”
Chief executive of the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association Cheryl Cartwright also praised Mr Gray’s “commitment to the resources industry and his understanding and appreciation of domestic gas issues.”
“Our industry has been fortunate to have government and opposition representatives prepared to set aside party politics in the interests of developing appropriate policies,” she said.
“We are grateful for Mr Gray’s genuine interest in natural gas issues and his willingness to engage at all levels, and we sincerely wish him well.”
Mr Clare will be joined by new shadow assistant minister for resources Jim Chalmers, while Shayne Neumann will be shadow minister for Northern Australia.
Dr Roberts said APPEA looked forward to working with Mr Clare and Dr Chalmers to ensure the oil and gas industry continued to create jobs and wealth for Australia.
“It is vital that all political parties support policies that ensure access to resources, encourage exploration and enhance our global competitiveness,” he said.