My adjournment matter this evening is directed to the Minister for Regional and Rural Development and is in relation to natural gas connections to rural and regional townships. The promised natural gas extension to Terang and the increasing delays experienced by the township are causing significant angst. The Terang community has been in limbo in relation to the commitment made by the coalition before the last state election. Community members are particularly concerned about the lack of consultation and the lack of work done in relation to this commitment since the coalition came to power. It is very difficult for residents to get phone calls back from the local member on this issue. The community has now learnt from an article published in the Terang Express on 10 May that they will have to wait, that this will just continue and there will be further delays. No reasons have been given.
Other townships in Victoria which are also in limbo over the promise that this government would provide natural gas connections to them include Winchelsea, Avoca and Bannockburn. On 11 May the Pyrenees Advocate reported that a number of Avoca residents are now starting to wonder if natural gas will ever be delivered as promised. Local resident Peter Spark was quoted in the Pyrenees Advocate as stating:
“Ted Baillieu arrived in our town before the last election.
“He proudly promised Avoca would have gas if he won the election.”
Peter Spark questioned:
“How many people believed him and as such voted for him?
“He won the election — still no gas in our town or any hint of it ever happening … “
All our communities are just getting excuses after excuses. The reality is that if this government actually did something rather than constantly citing excuses, then maybe in the future communities would accept that sometimes there are valid excuses. However, the community does not see any action from this government in relation to the connection of natural gas.
I ask the minister to give a firm commitment that the election promise will be fulfilled as soon as possible and to provide me with an outline of the timetable for the connection of natural gas for all the townships in Victoria for which it was promised.