Andrew Liveris admits ‘incorrect’ jobs claim from natural gas on ABC’s ‘Q&A’

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The Morrison Government’s gas-fired recovery plan was the cause of debate between Andrew Liveris and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young on the ABC panel show ‘Q&A’ a couple of weeks ago.

Recently, Liveris admitted his claim that 850,000 Australians work in industries using natural gas as feedstock was “incorrect”.

Andrew Liveris told RMIT ABC Fact Check that the 850,000 figure was the Australian Bureau of Statistics employment number for all sectors of manufacturing and not all those sectors used gas as a feedstock.

However, he said all manufacturing jobs were “dependent on the aggregation of supply chains and associated manufacturing ventures that draw on gas directly”. 

Photo: Screenshots taken from ABC’s ‘Q&A’

Mr Liveris made his claim when Q+A host Hamish Macdonald asked him to justify the need for new, publicly funded gas infrastructure. 

“There’s 850,000 Australians employed by industries that use gas as a feedstock,” he replied.

When contacted by Fact Check, Mr Liveris said in an email that he had not had the opportunity to properly explain himself “due to the style of the program”. 

“Gas as a key input and enabler, including as a feedstock and source of direct energy, in energy intensive sectors like steel, aluminium, bricks, paper, food production and packaging, cement, petrochemicals, fertilizers, explosives and other sectors impacts 850,000 manufacturing jobs in Australia,” he wrote.

“The literal expression of this on the Q+A program was that its use as a feedstock for all these sectors is incorrect.

“The correct assertion is that 850,000 (the ABS number for workers in manufacturing) jobs are dependent on the aggregation of supply chains and associated manufacturing ventures that draw on gas directly, and not as electricity,” he wrote. 

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