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Australian state bans gas for new homes

The move is part of a broader plan to cut emissions and lower energy bills

© Getty Images / Douglas Cliff

The Australian state of Victoria plans to impose a ban on connecting natural gas pipes to new homes starting next year, Minister for Climate Action Lily D’Ambrosio announced on Friday.

The measure is a part of a state program aimed at cutting emissions and lowering energy bills. The gas sector reportedly accounts for 17% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Reducing our reliance on gas is critical to meeting our ambitious emission reduction target of net zero by 2045 and getting more Victorians on more efficient electric appliances which will save them money on their bills,” D’Ambrosio said in a statement.

The new requirements will apply to all new public buildings yet to reach the design stage, including housing, schools and hospitals.

The southeast Australian state is expected to face gas shortages in the coming years, as production declines at offshore fields operated by Exxon Mobil, which have long provided fuel for the region.

The upcoming prohibition is not expected to resolve emission-reduction challenges, as new homes will depend on the coal-based power grid, according to a statement from the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, seen by Reuters.

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In Victoria, which is heavily dependent on coal, electricity generation reportedly accounts for about half of the state’s carbon emissions.

“The Victorian Government is taking choice away from consumers for limited climate benefit while ignoring the fact that the best way to bring gas prices down is to invest in more gas supply,” Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch said, as cited by the news agency.

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