- Agreement reached to supply natural gas to the remaining priority towns
- Four Murray River communities will also be connected
- Victorian Coalition Government delivers on its election commitment and more
The Victorian Coalition Government has delivered another key election commitment, with agreement reached to supply piped natural gas to the remaining priority towns under the Energy for The Regions Program, as well as an additional four Murray River communities using a compressed natural gas delivery solution.
Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan visited Swan Hill earlier this week to announce Brookfield Infrastructure Group has been selected to connect gas to Heathcote, Invermay, Lakes Entrance, Maldon, Marong, Orbost, Terang, Swan Hill, Kerang, Robinvale and Nathalia.
Mr Ryan said the gas connections would be delivered through the Victorian Coalition Government’s $85 million Request for Tender, which included two components: $30 million to connect Murray River communities, comprising $15 million from the Commonwealth’s $100 million Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program and $15 million from Victoria’s Regional Growth Fund; and $55 million from the Regional Growth Fund to supply the remaining priority towns as part of the third stage of the Energy for the Regions Program.
“Today I’m delighted to announce the Coalition Government has successfully negotiated with Brookfield to deliver natural gas to 11 communities,” Mr Ryan said.
“We are now delivering gas to all 14 priority towns announced as part of the Energy for The Regions Program, as well as a further four communities along the Murray River.
“Many doubted our commitment to connect regional communities to gas, led by the Labor Party and their fear mongering regional spokesperson Jacinta Allan who falsely described our plan as a ‘monstrous hoax’.
“I am pleased to announce today that this is no hoax, we have honoured our promise and more, going over and above our brief by reaching agreement to connect an additional four Murray River communities to natural gas.
“True to this government’s track record of success, we have under-promised and over-delivered.”
Deputy Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh joined Mr Ryan in Swan Hill and said connecting these 11 communities to reticulated natural gas using compressed natural gas (CNG) was an Australian first and could provide the future solution to connecting natural gas to other towns across regional Australia.
“While natural gas has historically been transmitted via pipelines from the main grid, the high cost of laying long-distance pipes has meant a different approach was needed if we were to continue rolling out gas across regional and rural Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.
“Brookfield’s proposal will involve initial supply of CNG from its Derrimut facility and the creation of further Mother Stations to compress the gas before it is trucked to Daughter Stations, to be located on the outskirts of town, in each of the 11 communities.
“From the Daughter Stations the gas will be reticulated via pipes to homes at a price comparable to gas supplied through conventional pipelines connected to the grid.
“While applying this delivery method to residential homes is a first, the CNG delivery solution is a proven technology, having been used in industrial settings where the cost of a traditional pipeline has been too high.
“Communities can rest assured, knowing our system will provide the same level of capacity, reliability, safety and convenience for households, small businesses and industry as connecting to conventional piped gas from the grid.
“Today’s announcement is terrific news for regional Victoria, and to be here in Swan Hill today alongside the Deputy Premier to announce two communities in my electorate, Swan Hill and Kerang, will be connected is a great moment.”
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government and Brookfield wouldn’t waste any time, with work scheduled to begin before the end of the year.
Mr Ryan said reticulated natural gas would be delivered regardless of which side of politics wins November’s election, with the contracts now set in stone.
“Delivering gas to our regional and rural communities is vital to ensure they remain strong,” Mr Ryan said.
“Having a reticulated natural gas connection will attract new forms of industry to town, particularly job creating energy intensive manufacturing enterprises.
“It will also support residents by providing a cheaper, cleaner source of energy, whether that is for heating or cooking.”
Mr Ryan said this week’s announcement followed agreements to deliver conventional piped natural gas to Huntly, Avoca, Bannockburn, Winchelsea, Koo Wee Rup, Warburton and Wandong-Heathcote Junction, as well as the augmentation of Mildura’s gas supply.
“Last month, Huntly became the first town to be connected to Victoria’s natural gas network under Energy for the Regions Program,” Mr Ryan said.
“The $4.5 million project has already connected more than 180 Huntly households to natural gas, with more expected to be connected soon.
“I recently visited Jan and Dale Johnson in Huntly to discuss their new connection and I was extremely pleased to learn that Jan has been able to heat her entire house for the first time, ensuring Huntly’s cold winters are no longer something to dread.
“More importantly the gas connection means Jan can cook her delicious scones in her gas oven without it costing her an arm and a leg.
“Thanks to this significant investment from the Victorian Coalition Government, Jan and Dale’s story will be replicated right across our regions, making all the effort and perseverance to get this project across the line worthwhile.”
Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731