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Onshore gas bill passes in Victoria

The Victorian State Parliament has passed legislation that will pave the way for onshore gas exploration to resume in the state.

The Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 passed the Legislative Council yesterday, which will allow the resumption of onshore gas exploration and development activity from 1 July 2021, once a best practice regulatory framework is in place.

All new gas will be prioritised for local use and the Victorian Government said its production could generate up to $310 million annually for regional economies.

The Victorian Gas Program has been undertaking scientific investigations on onshore gas for the past three years, with a moratorium on the industry in place during this period.

While bans on fracking and CSG remain, investigations led by Victoria’s Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples found an onshore conventional gas industry would not compromise the state’s environment.

Victorian Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes said an orderly restart of the industry would deliver jobs and benefits for Victorians.

“Securing gas sources isn’t needed just for Victorian homes and businesses – it’s a key ingredient for manufacturing,” she said.

“That’s why we’re making sure all new gas projects are prioritised for local use.”

The news was welcomed by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), with APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville calling it a step in the right direction.

“Victoria is a state that relies heavily on gas. Around 80 per cent of Victorian homes are connected to natural gas, and an average household in Victoria uses nearly twice the amount of natural gas as a household in any other state in Australia,” he said.

“Thousands of manufacturing jobs in the state also rely on a stable supply of gas.

“This legislation should give some comfort that Victoria’s manufacturing base, and the local jobs it generates, should continue to have a source of viable supplies of domestically produced gas for years to come.”

Victorians will be able to have their say on the new regulations through the Regulatory Impact Statement process, which includes community consultation.

For more information visit the Victorian Government website.

If you have news you would like featured in The Australian Pipeliner contact Managing Editor David Convery at dconvery@gs-press.com.au

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