Press Releases

Global mining leaders welcomed to Melbourne

* * - Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Peter Ryan will this evening welcome delegates from more than 30 countries to the inaugural International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne.

Mr Ryan said the five-day conference was Australia’s first and only truly international mining event, bringing together the breadth of the mining industry, from industry leaders and policy makers to financiers, technical experts, innovators and educators.

“We are delighted to welcome over 2000 delegates from over 30 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas to IMARC,” Mr Ryan said.

“We are joined by ministerial delegations from Chile, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines and Ethiopia, and by representatives from the world’s largest mining companies, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Vale to name but a few.

“IMARC is broad in scale and scope, and we hope this conference and exhibition will become a ‘Grand Slam’ event for the Asia Pacific region.”

The IMARC program includes more than 200 speakers representing a broad cross-section of national and global mining industry leaders and experts.

IMARC is the first conference of its type to have the support of each of Australia’s three key industry associations – The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), Austmine and the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA).

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was proud to be supporting IMARC.

“Victoria is the birthplace of mining in Australia dating back to the gold rushes of the 1850s. Victoria’s Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector is valued at $17 billion, making it a major contributor to Australia’s economic growth and long-term prosperity.

“Melbourne is a hub for mining and mining services and is the corporate home for some of the biggest names in the industry, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Oz Minerals, MMG, Newcrest Mining and Orica.

“Through IMARC, we look forward to showcasing Victoria’s capabilities in mining, equipment, technology and services and building partnerships with industry and government. IMARC also provides unprecedented opportunities for Victorian companies in other industries such as manufacturing to create linkages with the world’s leading mining and resources companies.”

Mr Ryan also welcomed IMARC keynote speaker, international financier and global mining industry figure, Robert Friedland.

“Mr Friedland has influenced investment decisions and spurred economic growth in markets in Asia, the Asia Pacific Region, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas,” Mr Ryan said.

“Along with being a significant investor in leading-edge resources technologies, Mr Friedland is renowned for his leadership of Ivanhoe Mines, which is currently focused on advancing and developing three major mining projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

IMARC’s program includes a Policy stream led by the MCA and Coalition Government; a Technology and Skills stream led by AusIMM and Austmine; and an Investment stream led by Mines and Money Australia.

The IMARC Expo which will run throughout the conference showcases the latest innovations, products and services from over 80 industry leaders.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Poowong kindergarten vies for energy prize

* * - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

• More than 1100 schools taking part in the ResourceSmart School Awards 2014
• Schools saving $5.3 million in energy costs over six years
• More than $40,000 prize money up for grabs

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today congratulated Poowong Kindergarten on being named one of the finalists for this year’s ResourceSmart Schools Awards.

“This is an outstanding achievement for Poowong Kindergarten and I congratulate them for their efforts to incorporate sustainable practices within their kindergarten and community,” Mr Ryan said.

"The quality of their work means that Victoria's sustainable future is in good hands.

“It is pleasing to see that this year for the first time an early childhood category had been introduced.”

Mr Ryan said the Poowong Kindergarten had taken on some courageous and challenging initiatives, including developing a bush tucker sensory garden and participating in the ResourceSmart Early Childhood pilot project.

“The kindergarten is aiming to educate Poowong youngsters to become socially and environmentally responsible individuals and through hands-on engagement has raised the profile of sustainable practices in the local community,” he said.

Mr Ryan said that all schools that entered three or more resource modules, for example water, waste and energy will automatically be considered for Victoria’s overall ResourceSmart School of the Year award. 

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said more than 1100 Victorian schools were participating in the ResourceSmart Schools program, saving over $5.3million in energy costs over six years.

“In 2011, the Victorian Coalition Government committed $8.3 million over four years to build on the existing ResourceSmart schools framework,” Mr Smith said.

“We have added more than 400 schools to the program since then, one year ahead of schedule and more than half of Victoria’s schools are now covered by the program.

“I congratulate the finalists and wish them all good luck.”

The awards are part of Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart Schools initiative, managed in partnership with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, which helps schools embed sustainability into everyday activities.

Winners will be announced at the ResourceSmart Schools Awards Ceremony on Monday 8 September 2014 and finalists will share in more than $40,000 prize money which will support schools to grow their sustainability activities.

For a full list of finalists visit

Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404

Deputy Premier visits ATC ahead of IMARC

* * - Tuesday, August 26, 2014


  • Manufacturing and mining make significant contribution to Bendigo economy
  • Local success story ATC supplies turntables to Asia, Europe and Middle East
  • IMARC in Melbourne joins the ‘Grand Slam’ of global mining conferences

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan visited Australian Turntable Company (ATC) in Kangaroo Flat today to highlight the significant contribution the manufacturing and mining industries make to the region.

Mr Ryan also used his visit to promote the upcoming the 2014 International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) to be held in Melbourne.

Mr Ryan, who was joined by Liberal candidate for Bendigo West Michael Langdon, said ATC was a strong example of mining investment flowing through to regional communities such as Bendigo.

“From humble beginnings in 1987, ATC has grown to become one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of turntables and revolving floors,” Mr Ryan said.

“This includes commercial truck turntables for loading docks and construction sites, residential vehicle driveway turntables, revolving restaurants and showroom display turntables.

“ATC exports to the Middle East, Asia and Europe, with its most notable achievement being the manufacture and installation of the world’s largest revolving restaurant at Milad Tower in Tehran, Iran.

“More recently ATC has begun servicing the mining industry, delivering a second 100 ton capacity turntable to Rio Tinto earlier this year.

“ATC will continue to develop new ways to service the mining industry through the use of turntables, ensuring the company has a bright future here in Bendigo.”

Mr Langdon said Bendigo was home to many other leading mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies.

“The manufacturing and mining industries are the largest economic contributor to Bendigo’s economy, with an annual economic output of $2.8 billion,” Mr Langdon said.

“It employs more than 1,000 people locally with many national and international companies based here including Bendigo Engineering, Deepcore Drilling, Gordon Brothers Industries, Hofmann Engineering, Keech Australia, Mancala Mine, Quarry and Mining Engineering, UME Australia, Universal Manufacturing Australia and many others.”

Mr Ryan encouraged local METS companies to register for IMARC, which he said was among the ‘Grand Slam’ of global mining conferences.

Mr Ryan said the first IMARC would be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 22-26 September and had secured almost 200 speakers and more than 1,000 delegates from across the local and global mining and resources sector.

“IMARC sits alongside the world’s other major mining conferences including PDAC in Canada, Expomin in Chile, Mining INDABA in South Africa and China Mining,” Mr Ryan said

“I strongly encourage Victorian companies that are directly involved in mining, are current suppliers to the mining industry, or those interested in becoming mining suppliers, to attend this high profile international event.

“IMARC will provide an ideal platform for Victorian businesses to gain new market exposure and develop new relationships in the mining sector.

“For local companies like Australian Turntable Company, it will help them raise their profile and attract new investment.”

Mr Ryan announced today that the Victorian Coalition Government was offering Victorian companies a special deal to attend IMARC, with free entry to the exhibition hall and a discounted rate of $495 for a full day conference pass to the Technical Stream.

Mr Ryan said local companies could find out more by visiting

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Huntly turns on the natural gas

* * - Tuesday, August 26, 2014


  • Deputy Premier celebrates completion of works to connect Huntly to natural gas
  •  580 Huntly households and businesses can now access piped natural gas
  • Victorian Coalition Government delivering its promise to connect more regional communities to natural gas

Huntly today became the first town to be connected to Victoria’s natural gas network under the Victorian Coalition Government’s $100 million Energy for the Regions Program.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan, who was joined by the Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley, visited Jan and Dale Johnson’s home in Huntly to celebrate the historic connection.

 Mr Ryan said Jan and Dale’s home was one of more than 180 to have been connected to natural gas as part of a $4.5 million joint investment by the Coalition Government and AusNet Services, with more than 100 additional homes expected to be connected soon.

"I am proud that the Coalition Government’s decision to connect Huntly to natural gas is already making a difference to the lives of locals such as Jan and Dale," Mr Ryan said.

"Jan and Dale and many other Huntly residents now have access to a dependable energy source that is cheaper for them and better for the environment.

"This investment means Huntly is no longer the poor cousin to Bendigo when it comes to natural gas, enabling the community to compete for new residents, new industry and new investment."

Mr Bickley welcomed the $4.5 million investment, which included $2.58 million from the Coalition Government, and said it would provide 580 homes and businesses in Huntly with the opportunity to connect to natural gas.

Mr Bickley said the roll-out involved the installation of 3.5kms of supply pipeline and more than 13kms of reticulation pipeline, which was delivered on time and on budget with minimal disruption to the local community.

Mr Bickley said the investment opened the door for gas to be connected to the new 'Viewpoint Huntly' estate on Sawmill Road, with a separate agreement having been reached to supply and connect 350 additional homes to natural gas, over and above the 580 connections in Huntly.

“This additional extension, which would not have occurred without the Coalition Government’s initial investment, is a great outcome for the community and for those looking to invest at the new 'Viewpoint Huntly' estate,” Mr Bickley said.

Mr Ryan said Labor’s regional spokesperson Jacinta Allan would be eating her words today after describing the Energy for The Regions Program as a ‘monstrous hoax’.

“I am here today in Huntly to say that the only monstrous hoax is Jacinta Allan’s pitiful and misinformed scare campaign,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government has done in three years what Labor couldn’t do in its 11 years in office and that is deliver piped natural gas to the people of Huntly.”

Mr Ryan said while Ms Allan had been spreading uncertainty in an attempt to scare off business and investment in regional Victoria, the Coalition Government had reached agreements to supply gas to Huntly, Avoca, Bannockburn, Winchelsea, Wandong-Heathcote Junction, Koo Wee Rup, Mildura and Warburton.

“We are finalising negotiations for an $85 million tender to supply the remaining priority towns and communities along the Murray River with compressed or liquefied natural gas,” Mr Ryan said.

“We are delivering on our commitment to roll out natural gas, which is a cheaper and cleaner source of energy that will lower household costs.

“It is about time Jacinta Allan and Labor admitted they were wrong and apologised to regional Victorians for their baseless scaremongering.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731


Deputy Premier speaks at Avoca Natural Gas Forum

* * - Thursday, July 10, 2014

  • Deputy Premier addresses Natural Gas Forum in Avoca 
  • Victorian Coalition Government invests almost $8.4 million to connect Avoca 
  • Gas roll-out expected to be completed by the middle of 2016

More than 700 homes and businesses in Avoca will be connected to natural gas thanks to the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan along with The Nationals Candidate for Ripon Scott Turner were in Avoca today to host a Natural Gas Forum.

The forum followed the Coalition Government’s historic agreement with SP AusNet to connect the town to natural gas, reached in April 2013.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had invested almost $8.4 million to deliver gas to Avoca, something Labor said it wouldn’t do and falsely claimed the Coalition Government couldn’t achieve.

"Connecting Avoca to the natural gas network will provide the town with new opportunities for growth and help attract new businesses," Mr Ryan said.

“Before the Coalition Government intervened, communities such as Avoca were in the unenviable position of not being able to attract new businesses because they didn’t have a natural gas connection but couldn’t get a gas connection because they didn’t have enough homes and businesses to warrant it.

“The Coalition Government, through its $100 million Energy for the Regions Program, a component of the Regional Growth Fund, is delivering this much sought after gas connection.

“This initial investment will pay long-term dividends for Avoca, and is part of our commitment to growing regional communities and supporting local jobs.”

Mr Turner said the roll-out of natural gas would provide cheaper and cleaner energy to residents and businesses in Avoca and was yet another example of what The Nationals could deliver as part of a Coalition Government.

“Supplying gas to households and businesses via reticulation is significantly cheaper than bottled natural gas or energy sourced via the electricity grid,” Mr Turner said.

“Delivering natural gas to Avoca is another example of the Coalition Government’s hard work to lower household bills and follows the government’s recent announcement that it is cutting water bills.

“I will continue to work with Peter Ryan, The Nationals and the Coalition Government to reduce the cost of living for communities throughout the region.”

Mr Ryan said subject to planning and regulatory approvals, construction of the Avoca gas connection would commence this year and the project would be completed by winter 2016.

Mr Ryan said SP AusNet would hold a further community information session on Wednesday, 16 July to answer the community’s questions, including project timing and the process for connecting to the reticulation network.

Mr Ryan encouraged homeowners and businesses to attend next week’s information session.

“SP AusNet has said there is sufficient flexibility in the network to ‘in-fill’ areas not initially covered in the roll-out, and enough capacity to satisfy future growth,” Mr Ryan said.

“Those not included within the initial project footprint can collectively submit an expression of interest to SP AusNet in order to be included in the network.

“By taking a coordinated approach, homes and businesses will increase the likelihood of a connection and minimise connection costs.”

Mr Ryan also called on the Labor Opposition’s regional spokesperson Jacinta Allan to publicly apologise to the Avoca community for her continual scaremongering on the roll-out of gas.

“Ms Allan famously said the Coalition Government couldn’t sensibly connect any more regional communities to natural gas,” Mr Ryan said.

“Ms Allan described our Energy for the Regions Program as a hoax.

“I am proud to say this is not a hoax and the Avoca community will soon be cooking with piped natural gas.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731 

Major conference to attract mining heavyweights

* * - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Deputy Premier visits Ballarat mining success story Gekko Systems 
  • 120 speakers confirmed for International Mining and Resources Conference 
  • Victorian Coalition Government supporting local industries to compete on the world stage

Ballarat-based company Gekko Systems (Gekko) is a strong example of Victoria’s mining services sector creating and supporting jobs right across the state.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan today visited Gekko to announce that the upcoming International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), to be held in Melbourne during September, had secured 120 guest speakers.

Mr Ryan said the speakers represented a cross section of national and global mining industry leaders and experts, including Nev Power from Fortescue Metals Group, Ian Smith from Orica, Terry Burgess from Oz Minerals, Carlos Santa Cruz from Newmont Mining, Andrew Michelmore from MMG, and Tony Cudmore from BHP Billiton.

“This major conference will focus the world’s attention on Melbourne and Victoria as a leading hub for mining and mining services and will also highlight Victoria’s world class resource deposits such as brown coal, gas and mineral sands,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said Gekko was a great example of a regionally-based business which had grown to become a global leader.

“Gekko was started by husband and wife team Sandy Gray and Elizabeth Lewis-Gray in Avoca in 1996, initially producing InLine Pressure Jigs for gravity separation,” Mr Ryan said.

“Over the past 18 years, Gekko has grown to become a global company, with headquarters in Ballarat and sales offices in Perth, Canada, South Africa and Chile.

“Gekko Systems is now recognised as a world leader in gravity separation and recovery of gold and other high-value minerals such as silver, coal and gemstones.

“The mining industry relies on Gekko products to improve productivity and save on energy costs at mining sites.”

Mr Ryan said assisting businesses such as Gekko to become industry leaders by gaining access to global supply chains was a key reason behind the Victorian Coalition Government’s efforts to promote the mining and mining services industries in Victoria.

“By hosting events such as IMARC, which attracts hundreds of the industry’s biggest decision makers, we are saying to the world that Victoria, and our local mining and mining services industries, is open for business and the best in the world at what we do,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government wants to see more companies like Gekko competing on the world stage and showcasing Victorian excellence in mining equipment, technology and services.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

The sun won’t melt this Mars Bar

* * - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Mars Ballarat to make its range of bars using clean green renewable energy 
  • Solar panels to reduce company’s energy costs by $900,000 a year 
  • Victorian Coalition Government invested $1.5 million to ensure a long future for Mars in Ballarat

Mars Australia’s Ballarat chocolate factory will save $900,000 a year on its energy costs, with Mars Bars, Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, Maltesers and M&Ms to be manufactured using electricity generated from the sun.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan visited Mars today to unveil the company’s new solar electricity generation system, installed as part of Mars Ballarat’s $6.2 million Utilities Efficiency Investment Project.

Mr Ryan was joined at today’s event by The Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner, Liberal candidate for Buninyong Ben Taylor and Liberal candidate Wendouree Craig Coltman.

Mr Ryan said today’s event marked completion of the $1.3 million Renewable Energy Program, a component of the overall $6.2 million project, which included the installation of 800 fixed photovoltaic panels and two sun tracking solar panel arrays.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had proudly invested $1.5 million to support the $6.2 million project, from the job creating $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“Today marks a milestone for Mars in Ballarat,” Mr Ryan said.

“The fixed solar panels and sun-tracking solar arrays will provide peak power of 210 kilowatts of electricity, saving Mars’ around $900,000 per year in energy costs.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was keen to assist Mars’ Ballarat factory, which has a reputation for producing the world’s best Maltesers, to remain competitive against overseas manufacturers, where production costs were significantly lower.

“A strong and sustainable Mars Ballarat is vital to the local and regional economy. It currently employs more than 420 locals, sources 70 per cent of its materials and ingredients from Victoria, and injects almost $147 million a year into the regional economy,” Mr Ryan said.

“However, the cost of producing chocolate bars in Ballarat is twice as expensive than other plants in the Asia-Pacific region, meaning savings needed to be made for the factory to remain viable.

“To ensure Mars remains competitive locally, and we as consumers can continue buying the highest quality chocolate, the company needed to develop innovative solutions to reduce its costs, which this project delivers.”

Mr Ryan said generating energy onsite was one way Mars was reducing its costs, with other components of this $6.2 million Utilities Efficiency Investment Project set to follow, including plant insulation upgrades, water capture and storage initiatives, and wastewater improvements.

“Once completed, this $6.2 million investment will reduce Mars’ carbon dioxide emissions by 8,000 tonnes per year,” Mr Ryan said.

“It will also reduce water consumption by 46 megalitres a year, a $30,000 saving, which is vitally important in Ballarat where water can be a scarce commodity.”

Mr Ryan said this investment was another example of how the Coalition Government, through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, was ensuring companies who have made their name in regional and rural Victoria remain there.

“Mars has being producing its range of products in Ballarat since 1979, maintaining its place as an industry leader for the past 35 years,” Mr Ryan said.

“With support from the Coalition Government, and our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, we aim to keep it in Ballarat for another 35 years and beyond.”

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731

Victorian Coalition Government halts onshore gas drilling

* * - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • Drilling at Seaspray halted while community consultation is carried out
  • Victorian Coalition Government won’t be rushed on onshore gas
  • Information sessions will be held in Gippsland throughout June

The Victorian Coalition Government has put a hold on issuing work plan approvals for onshore gas exploration, including at Seaspray, until the community has had its say and scientific facts are known.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the decision would ensure all the facts were in front of government and communities ahead of any decision on whether an onshore gas industry would be developed in Victoria.

“We will not be rushed into making a decision on the potential for development of onshore gas in Gippsland until we have a full understanding of its effects on communities, farmland, the environment and the economy,” Mr Ryan said.

“This decision means planned drilling by Lakes Oil at Seaspray will not proceed until all the facts are considered and the community has had its say.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s position on onshore gas was in stark contrast to that of the Labor Party, which when in government issued 73 coal seam, shale and tight gas exploration licences and approved 23 fracking operations without community consultation.

“Under the former Labor Government, the onshore gas industry was given a green light to drill and frack without any understanding of the facts and without giving the community a say,” Mr Ryan.

“No fracking has ever occurred under a Coalition Government. The last time fracking occurred in Victoria was when it was approved by the former Labor Government, supported by local Labor representatives Matt Viney and Johan Scheffer.

“In contrast, the Coalition Government is giving the community a say on this important matter.

“In addition to our consultation process, we have committed to the most extensive investigation into our ground water systems ever undertaken, instigated a moratorium on fracking, put a hold on the issuing of new exploration licences and now a hold on issuing work plan approvals for existing exploration licences.”

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s community consultation would begin with an initial round of Open Days in June, including sessions at Sale, Yarram, Mirboo North, Inverloch, Bairnsdale and Warragul.

“These Open Days form one part of our extensive community consultation process, which also includes facilitated meetings with community groups, environmental groups, farmers, local government representatives and individuals, as well as workshops to discuss specific issues in greater depth.” Mr Ryan said.

“The Open Days will provide the community with all the information and facts so they can make an informed decision on the potential for the development of an onshore gas industry.”

In announcing the Open Days, Minister for Energy and Resources Russell Northe said the Coalition Government genuinely wanted to engage with community on this important issue.

“This is not just a listening exercise, it’s an information exercise. We want to ensure that everyone has an understanding of the facts to help them participate in discussions about a potential onshore natural gas industry in Victoria,” Mr Northe said.

“We intend to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues and the range of views across the community, particularly in the regional and rural communities, before making any decision on this important matter.”

Mr Ryan said more information on the Coalition Government’s community consultation process, including planned and upcoming events, was available online at

Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 547 731


Warragul: 2pm – 8pm, Thursday 5 June 2014 at the Exhibition Hall Warragul, Korumburra Road, Warragul (next to the Warragul Show Grounds)

Sale: 2pm – 8pm, Tuesday 10 June 2014 at the Sale Memorial Hall, Macalister Street.

Bairnsdale: 2pm – 8pm, Wednesday 11 June 2014 at the RSL: Lakes Room, 2 Forge Creek Rd, Bairnsdale

Yarram: 2pm – 8pm, Thursday 12 June 2014 at the Anglican Church Hall, 95 Commercial Road, Yarram

Inverloch: 2pm – 8pm, Tuesday 17 June 2014 at the Inverloch Community Hub, 16 A’Beckett Street.

Mirboo North: 2pm – 8pm, Wednesday 18 June 2014 at the Mirboo North Shire Hall

$85 million natural gas tender applicants down to final two

* * - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Field of applicants for $85 million natural gas tender narrowed to two 
  • Regional Development Victoria has entered detailed and complex negotiations with the final two companies 
  • Connection to seven towns already confirmed; Mildura’s supply has also been increased

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan today announced further progress on connecting regional Victorian towns to natural gas as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $85 million tender.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had already reached agreements to deliver natural gas to seven towns in regional Victoria, and had expanded supply to Mildura.

The $85 million tender asked companies to compete for the chance to supply the remaining seven priority towns as well as additional communities along the Murray River.

The gas is to be delivered as either compressed or liquefied natural gas.

“The field of applicants to win this tender has now been whittled down to two final competing companies,” Mr Ryan said.

“Regional Development Victoria has now entered detailed and complex negotiations with these companies.

“This landmark $85 million investment in regional Victoria will deliver gas to towns that have been calling for this cheaper and more convenient energy supply for decades.

“Some towns have found themselves caught between not having enough customers to attract gas supply from an energy company, but handicapped in attracting new residents and businesses because they did not have natural gas.

“The Coalition Government is fixing this problem for these rural towns. CNG/LNG is less than half the price of bottled gas, so whether you’re heating your home or operating a business, the Coalition Government aims to drive down your costs.”

The $85 million Request for Tender includes:
  • $30 million for the provision of natural gas to 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 $1 billion Regional Growth Fund; and 
  • $55 million from Victoria’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to supply the remaining seven priority towns as part of the third stage of the Energy for the Regions program.

The Coalition Government has announced the improvement of Mildura’s gas supply along with gas connections for Huntly, Avoca, Bannockburn, Winchelsea, Koo Wee Rup, Warburton and Wandong-Heathcote Junction. 

“Alternative solutions, including CNG/LNG represent a new opportunity to work with the energy industry to achieve broader energy security for regional Victoria, while also providing consumers with a comparable price and convenient access to conventional pipeline gas,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Wandong-Heathcote Junction takes another step towards natural gas

* * - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund bringing natural gas to Wandong-Heathcote Junction 
  • Piped natural gas costs about one-third the price of bottled gas 
  • Victorian Coalition Government reducing cost of living for regional Victorians

Wandong-Heathcote Junction is a step closer to receiving piped natural gas following the completion of a Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) study to finalise the project design and costs.

Speaking in Wandong-Heathcote Junction today, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said that following conclusion of the FEED study, energy company Envestra had begun obtaining planning and environmental approvals.

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government reached an agreement with Envestra to supply natural gas to Wandong-Heathcote Junction by investing $4.94 million from the Energy for the Regions Program, a component of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, to enable the connection.

“This project will see construction of 1.1 kilometres of high pressure supply pipeline from Envestra’s existing network and at least 11.8 kilometres of reticulation mains within the town, providing more than 500 households and businesses with the option to switch to natural gas,” Mr Ryan said.

Member for Seymour Cindy McLeish, who joined Mr Ryan at today’s event, said residents and businesses covered by the distribution plan could enjoy cleaner and cheaper energy, with piped natural gas costing them only about a third of what they pay for bottled gas.

“With the completion of the FEED study, Envestra is aiming to have Wandong-Heathcote Junction connected to natural gas by 2017,” Ms McLeish said.

The Nationals Candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan, who was also present at today’s event, said there were many potential economic benefits from natural gas that could flow to residents and businesses in Wandong-Heathcote Junction.

“The potential for lower energy bills will not only help local families overcome cost of living pressures, it will also boost the local economy by attracting investment, creating opportunities for new businesses and enabling existing businesses to expand,” Ms Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government, through the Energy for the Regions Program, was delivering reticulated natural gas to regional communities where the former Labor Government and current Labor opposition said it couldn’t be done.

“When in government, Labor promised to deliver piped natural gas to communities in regional and rural Victoria , like Wandong-Heathcote Junction, but failed to deliver,” Mr Ryan said.

“Over the past three and a half years, Labor’s shadow regional spokesperson Jacinta Allan, along with Labor member for Northern Victoria Candy Broad, have said again and again that reticulated natural gas could not be delivered to communities such as Wandong-Heathcote Junction.

“It is about time the Labor Party admitted their failure to the people of regional and rural Victoria and acknowledged that through hard work the Coalition Government is delivering what they couldn’t.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

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