Jon Seeley

Government must end confusion on the future of gas

Please find below an official media statement from Jon Seeley, Group Managing Director of Seeley International, sent to the media today requesting the Victorian government end the confusion on the future of gas.

Government must end confusion on the future of gas

As Australia’s largest gas heater manufacturer, Seeley International is committed to a transition away from fossil fuels, including natural gas.

Our collective ambition to address climate change compels the pursuit of all avenues of emissions reduction.

But this transition must be managed carefully and sensitively, and executed in an orderly fashion, recognising the fragile state of our energy grid, the considerable burden on households who are already facing cost of living pressures, and the arrival of a ready-made replacement of natural gas: renewable gas.

The development of renewable gas such as zero-emission hydrogen and biomethane presents an incredible opportunity for the transition to occur without jettisoning gas appliances or gas infrastructure.

This smart and cost-effective revolution in gas has been embraced across Europe and North America, and has begun here in Australia, allowing gas consumers to reduce emissions and retain choice in how they run their own homes and businesses.

Today we call on the Victorian Government to end the confusion it has created by its premature ban on gas connections in new homes, and clarify that this policy will not be extended to existing homes.

Such a step would not only crash our already fragile energy grid, but result in emissions increasing, not decreasing, given the State’s reliance on brown coal to generate electricity. Even this decision to ban gas connections to new homes will see emissions rise, as confirmed by the Grattan Institute.

Every other State government has made announcements this past week confirming that gas remains an essential part of their pathway to net zero emissions and that they will not be banning new gas connections as the Victorian Government has so ill-advisedly done.

Last month’s announcement by Victoria caused great anxiety for households who not only rely on gas to heat their homes and cook their meals, but have a strong preference for their gas appliances.

The Victorian Government must now act to minimise confusion and economic disruption by clearly ruling out any attempt to extend this ban to existing homes.

This is vitally important, to reassure existing gas users that they still have the freedom and choice to not only keep their existing gas appliances, but to repair, upgrade and replace them when required.

The early feedback Seeley has received from customers is one of confusion and concern; fears that the government will soon come for their gas appliances, at great cost to themselves.

Minister D’Ambrosio, end this confusion now, and return choice and security to the consumer.

Secondly, we call on the State Government to delay the announced ban on gas connections to new homes by at least six months, to allow for proper consultation with industry and manufacturers.

This announcement was made without knowledge of or consultation with the gas industry and associated industries, causing widespread fears of job losses.

It is incumbent on governments to act on these matters with fairness and transparency, not a rushed approach that shows no care or understanding for those dramatically affected by this policy.

Consultation is the least governments can do on such sensitive policy decisions, but to date, this has not even been attempted.

Contact: Andrew Carswell, 0418505376