Ferguson's pitch to sweeten LNG deal

ENTERPRISE migration agreements formed part of Resources Minister Martin Ferguson's pitch to Japanese LNG producers to look to Australia to fill its demand for the fuel.

Mr Ferguson attended the LNG producer consumer conference in Tokyo on the encouraging investment outlook for Australian gas.

He said foreign investment in resources had made it possible for Australia to benefit from its natural resources, putting a high value on the contributions of Japanese interests.

"Global per capita consumption is expected to rise by 20% between now and 2035, with most of the growth occurring in developing countries, particularly here in Asia," he said. "Asia alone needs about US$15 trillion worth of new infrastructure up to 2030, which is about 40% of the global total."

But a crucial part of his address was selling the possibility of Japanese firms using Enterprise Migration Agreements to fill the gaps in Australia's own skills shortage.

"Another key to ensuring ongoing development is providing sufficient numbers of adequately trained workers," he said. "Our strategy includes the new Enterprise Migration Agreements system, which aims to ensure overseas workers meet peak workforce needs when the Australian labour market cannot."

Mr Ferguson said Australia would not "rest on its laurels" when it came to developing further gas reserves, whether offshore or in on-shore coal seam gas operations.