THE $3 billion gas deal between the NSW and federal government completely lacks transparency for a number of reasons.
The state government has committed to injecting an additional 70 petajoules of gas into the east coast market in return for $3 billion from the commonwealth.
Australia is already the biggest exporter of gas in the world, yet somehow we have a "gas shortage". There is actually an global glut of gas at the moment and international gas prices have been plummeting.
Our "gas shortage" is due to big gas companies locking themselves into over-ambitious exporting contracts, which means they are legally obligated to sell their gas overseas, leaving what little is left for Australia at an extremely inflated price.
Other countries have policies that mandate their nation's domestic gas needs must be met before any gas is allowed to be shipped overseas.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian flagged two possibilities to supply the 70 petajoules of gas per annum - one is to import it. Again, we are the biggest exporters of gas in the world, so there is good chance we are importing our own gas.
So we face the prospect of mining our own gas, liquefying it for transport, sending it overseas via ship, where it will be turned back into gas, then once again turned back into a liquid, put back on a boat and sent back to us.
The second and more likely option is that the yet-to-be-approved Santos Narrabri Gas Project supplies the gas.
Narrabri is forecast to produce about 70 petajoules a year, the same volume required to boost the NSW supply under the deal with the Morrison government - what a coincidence.
That leads us to the transparency issue - the NSW government now has $3 billion riding on the "independent" decision to approve or reject the Narrabri Gas Project.
How on earth are we to expect an independent decision with this ungodly amount of political pressure?
In this instance, perception is just as important as the reality, and right now the perception is the commonwealth is bribing the state government to approve a controversial project.