Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Danny O'Brien, East Gippsland Shire Council Acting CEO - Chris Waites, Brookfield Infrastructure Group Senior Vice President - Anthony Vaughan, Deputy Premier - Peter Ryan, Orbost Chamber of Commerce representative - Rene Sundermann, Member for Gippsland East - Tim Bull and East Gippsland Shire Mayor - Mark Reeves celebrated the announcement that Brookfield Infrastructure Group will reticulate the towns of Lakes Entrance and Orbost with Natural Gas.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, announced today that homes and businesses in Lakes Entrance and Orbost would be connected to reticulated natural gas, ensuring access to affordable natural gas for homes and local businesses.
Mr Bull said the Victorian Coalition Government had delivered a key election commitment by signing an agreement to connect gas to the remaining priority towns as part of the Energy for The Regions Program including Lakes Entrance and Orbost using a compressed natural gas (CNG) delivery solution.
He said the Coalition Government had gone further than its original commitment by also signing an agreement to connect four Murray River communities to gas as part of the roll-out.
Brookfield Infrastructure Group has been selected to connect Lakes Entrance and Orbost to gas as well as other towns including Heathcote, Invermay, Maldon, Marong, Terang, Swan Hill, Kerang, Robinvale and Nathalia.
“For years, homeowners, tenants and local businesses in Lakes Entrance and Orbost have dreamed about being connected to piped natural gas,” Mr Bull said.
“I am thrilled to be able to say the Coalition Government has delivered and we are now on our way to switching on this important connection that will reduce the cost of energy for locals and help our community attract new job creating businesses.”
Mr Bull said the 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 including Lakes Entrance and Orbost as part of the third stage of the Energy for the Regions Program.
“Many doubted our commitment to connect Lake Entrance and Orbost to gas, led by the Labor Party and their fear mongering regional spokesperson Jacinta Allan who falsely described our plan as a ‘monstrous hoax’”, Mr Bull said.
“The only hoax is the one Labor tried to pull on regional communities in a shallow attempt to scare off business and investment in our local community.
“Only a Coalition Government can be trusted to deliver on its promises and true to this government’s track record, we have under-promised and over-delivered.”
Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said connecting Lakes Entrance and Orbost to piped natural gas using compressed natural gas (CNG) was an Australian first and would revolutionise how gas was delivered across the country.
“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 Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said Brookfield’s proposal would involve the creation of 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 piped to homes at a price comparable to gas supplied through conventional pipelines,” Mr Ryan said.
“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 that 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.”
Mr Bull said the Coalition Government and Brookfield wouldn’t waste any time with work scheduled to begin before the end of the year.
He said piped natural gas would be delivered regardless of which side of politics wins November’s election, with the contracts now set in stone.
“While Daniel Andrews and Labor threatened to tear up hard-fought contracts if they are elected to government, we have structured this agreement in such a way to ensure there is no turning back,” Mr Bull said.
“Delivering gas to our regional and rural communities will ensure they remain strong and competitive.
“It will also support residents by providing a cheaper, cleaner source of energy, whether that is for heating or cooking.”
Mr Bull said today’s announcement follows agreements to deliver conventional piped gas to Huntly, Avoca, Bannockburn, Winchelsea, Koo Wee Rup, Warburton and Wandong-Heathcote Junction, as well as expanding Mildura’s supply capacity.