Natural gas to switch on

A TENDER process to connect Invermay to natural gas will be completed in the next four to six weeks.

Deputy premier Peter Ryan said on Friday the state government has invested $85 million into a tender to connect country towns,

including Invermay, to natural gas.

It follows Thursday’s announcement of an $8.4 million natural gas rollout at Avoca.

 Ian Martin  and Geoff Fraser of the Invermay Progress Association

Ian Martin and Geoff Fraser of the Invermay Progress Association

Invermay Recreation Association president Ian Martin said he was “very happy with the news” but it had been a “long time coming” after the gas connection was promised in 2010 by the then Baillieu government.

“However, it’s terrific news,” Mr Martin said.

Invermay and Avoca were two of 13 country towns earmarked as a priority after the state government committed $100 million over four years to extend natural gas across regional Victoria during the 2010 election campaign.

However, residents became concerned in 2012 when Freedom of Information documents obtained by the Labor opposition showed all three Victorian gas distribution businesses believed it would not be viable to connect natural gas to all these communities.

Mr Ryan said the Avoca announcement and the upcoming Invermay tender showed Labor’s claims at the time that no more regional communities could be connected to natural gas were “scaremongering”.

Avoca will be connected to natural gas by winter 2016, with an information session by supplier SP AusNet to be held next Wednesday night

Speaking at Avoca, Mr Ryan said: “I am proud to say this is not a hoax and the Avoca community will soon be cooking with piped natural gas”.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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