A parliamentary inquiry in WA has concluded that the state's domestic gas policy is “no longer fit for purpose”.

The policy, established in 2006, restricts the export of onshore-produced gas and limits offshore gas exports to 15 percent. 

It has been a cornerstone of WA's energy strategy, and is credited with insulating the state from the energy crises experienced by Australia's eastern states.

However, the inquiry's findings suggest a pressing need for reform. 

“A year and a half ago, WA’s domestic gas policy was being lauded as the solution to the eastern states' energy woes,” the inquiry said, but despite its past successes, recent developments and rising gas prices in WA prompted calls for a comprehensive review.

Chair of the committee, Peter Tinley, highlighted the emerging challenges, noting that gas producers were currently allocating an average of 8 per cent of their gas reserves to the domestic market, significantly below the expected contributions. 

Tinley voiced concerns over potential gas shortages impacting critical industries and proposed that either the industry takes the lead in addressing these issues or the government intervenes through legislation or other measures.

The inquiry criticised the policy's implementation, pointing out inconsistencies and a lack of accountability among gas producers. 

It argued that the policy's spirit and its social contract with the WA community were being undermined by these inconsistencies. 

“There is significant evidence of various potential buyers of gas who wanted to do a contract but couldn't get the terms they wanted,” Tinley observed, indicating a systemic failure to meet domestic gas needs.

In response to the report, Premier Roger Cook acknowledged the need for ongoing monitoring and improvement of the policy to ensure it serves the interests of West Australians. 

The government is considering various options, including legislative changes, to enforce compliance and enhance transparency.