Flameout: Victoria bans new gas connections

Victoria will ban gas connections to all new homes and government buildings from next year.

Jul 28, 2023, updated Jul 28, 2023
Photo: AP/Wayne Parry

Photo: AP/Wayne Parry

The state government announced the changes as part of its plan to reach net-zero emissions in the state by 2045.

From January 1, new build residential properties and government buildings will only be powered by electricity.

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the changes would help a new home owner save $1000 on energy bills.

“We know the cost of living for Victorians is getting bigger and bigger,” she said on Friday.

“Doing something about it is exactly what today is about.”

There will be changes to Victorian planning provisions and schemes to ensure the measures can come into effect.

About 80 per cent of Victorian homes are connected to gas, with the sector contributing about 17 per cent of the state’s emissions.

A new $10 million residential electrification grants program would be established, D’Ambrosio said.

The scheme will be available to volume home builders, developers and others to provide bulk rebates for solar panels, solar hot water and heat pumps to new home buyers.

The government is also updating its gas substitution roadmap, which will be released later this year.

Environment Victoria has welcomed the changes, describing it as a vital step towards ending the state’s addiction to gas.

“Victoria is the largest user of gas in homes so it is particularly significant that we will be the first state to end new connections,” chief executive Jono La Nauze said.

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Master Builders Victoria supported the ban but said it was important consumers had the freedom to make informed choices.

“State and federal governments must continue to engage with industry stakeholders to develop comprehensive policies that consider the varied energy requirements of different consumers and building types,” chief executive Michaela Lihou said.

The ACT government on Friday launched a pilot program providing rebates for hospitality businesses who transition to all-electric cooking.

Building sector groups including Frasers Property Australia and Cbus Property have also pledged to phase out gas cooktops.

The Global Cooksafe Coalition said the recent announcements were a defining moment in the move towards induction cooking.

“We’re proud to support the Victorian government as they provide Victorians with the best power infrastructure and safest cooking technology on the market,” the coalition’s director Laura Kelly said.

The Victorian Greens welcomed the government’s changes but said it was falling short in other areas.

“It is strange that Labor acknowledges gas is an expensive, polluting fossil fuel on the one hand, while on the other hand is changing the law to make it easier to open new mines and is approving new gas drilling across the state,” deputy leader Ellen Sandell said.

The Institute of Public Affairs also criticised the government, saying it should instead remove barriers to gas exploration to get energy prices down.

“Banning the use of gas is fundamentally out of step with community expectations,” deputy executive director Daniel Wild said.


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