Purcell calls for state operated gas industry

Member for Western Victoria James Purcell is calling on the State Government to establish a government owned and operated gas industry for Victoria.

Mr Purcell said Victoria was built on energy and it was time to get back to basics and support Victorians.

"The theory behind this concept is for the Victorian Government to take control of Victoria’s gas industry and create a 100% government owned Victoria Gas Corporation (VicGas) to explore and produce gas," Mr Purcell said.

"This would allow the government to provide gas to the state at prices less than seen now and build a gas-fired power plant in Portland over the next four years to secure the future of Alcoa and encourage the development of new industries in the state.

"This gas extraction should only use conventional extraction methods - we are 100% opposed to unconventional gas extraction methods."

To allow this to happen existing Petroleum Exploration Permits (PEP) should be allowed to run their term but not extended.

"All gas produced would be used in Victoria and sold to households and businesses at cost plus.

"Farmers would receive a royalty if gas is found on their land, which is a fantastic support for the struggling agriculture sector and provides farmers with the opportunity to diversify income streams and drought-proof their farms.

"That said, it is the farmer's choice whether they want gas explored on their land - it cannot be forced upon them."

Mr Purcell said the model would also include a community fund, which would provide funding to community projects.

"This model will not only create cheaper gas for all Victorians, it will also support industry and encourage the development of new industry.

"The government needs to be strong and take the lead for all Victorians."