Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan has provided an update on the $85 million tender to deliver natural gas to regional Victorian towns.

Mr Ryan said the Government had already reached agreements to deliver natural gas to seven towns in regional Victoria, and had expanded supply to Mildura.

The $85 million tender asked companies to compete for the chance to supply the remaining seven priority towns as well as additional communities along the Murray River.

The gas is to be delivered as either compressed or liquefied natural gas.

“The field of applicants to win this tender has now been whittled down to two final competing companies,” Mr Ryan said.

The identities of the tenderers have not been announced.

“Regional Development Victoria has now entered detailed and complex negotiations with these companies.

“This landmark $85 million investment in regional Victoria will deliver gas to towns that have been calling for this cheaper and more convenient energy supply for decades.

“Some towns have found themselves caught between not having enough customers to attract gas supply from an energy company, but handicapped in attracting new residents and businesses because they did not have natural gas.

The $85 million Request for Tender includes:

  • $30 million for the provision of natural gas to Murray River communities, comprising $15 million from the Commonwealth’s $100 million Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program and $15 million from Victoria’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund; and
  • $55 million from Victoria’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to supply the remaining seven priority towns as part of the third stage of the Energy for the Regions program.

The government has announced the improvement of Mildura’s gas supply along with gas connections for Huntly, Avoca, Bannockburn, Winchelsea, Koo Wee Rup, Warburton and Wandong-Heathcote Junction.

“Alternative solutions, including CNG/LNG represent a new opportunity to work with the energy industry to achieve broader energy security for regional Victoria, while also providing consumers with a comparable price and convenient access to conventional pipeline gas,” Mr Ryan said.

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