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The Member for Rodney, Paul Weller, has announced a major infrastructure deal to extend natural gas to approximately 160 properties in an area just East of Echuca (VIC).

The project will be undertaken by gas infrastructure company, Envestra.

Engineering, planning and design works for the reticulation infrastructure have already begun, and the first connections are expected to occur in early 2015.

Negotiations between Mr Weller and Envestra commenced in late 2011, after an approach was made by the proponent of a new residential subdivision at Scott Road, Echuca East to connect to the natural gas network.

Developer Lindsay Rankin contacted Mr Weller, seeking assistance in extending natural gas to the subdivision and existing homes in the neighbouring area.

“This has been an enormously complex and arduous project which has necessitated protracted negotiations with Envestra,” said Mr Weller.

“Our challenge was to find a way to progress the distribution of natural gas in an equitable manner to all households in the area and to convince a gas distribution company that we had the numbers to make the project viable for them.”

“Envestra is an Australian-wide company operating under the strict guidelines and gas codes set down by the Australian Energy Regulator.”

“Negotiations have taken a number of years in order to get all parties perfectly aligned.”

“The successful conclusion of this project is reward for persistence and patience to all involved and is a very satisfying outcome to a challenging proposal.”

“It was a community project and it took everyone to pull together to get it over the line.”

Mr Weller said as a final gesture, Envestra had agreed to extend the appliance installation rebates that applied to the purchase and installation of gas appliances.

Current rebates of $500 for new hot water heating, $250 for new space heatin,g and $750 for gas ducted heating were due to cease at the end of August 2014, but would be extended for Echuca until June 2015, he said.

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