Ask the community before you switch off gas, Master Plumbers warn

Master Plumbers Australia and New Zealand has urged Australia’s governments to consult with the community before abandoning natural and renewable gas as an option for Australians to power their homes, now and in the future.

Chair of Master Plumbers Australia and New Zealand, Tom Martin, said increased use of renewable gas would reduce emissions associated with natural gas production and use, and enable Australian homes to continue to enjoy the benefits of cooking and heating with gas. 

“The plumbing industry is supportive of the Australian Government’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, however we’re concerned that the rush to remove a safe, affordable energy source from homes will prevent the development of a successful renewable gas industry, and impede consumer choice,” Mr Martin said.

Production and usage of renewable gas such as hydrogen and biogas is increasing in Australia and around the world. Biogas is receiving strengthening attention as an environmentally friendly fuel that can be used as a direct replacement for natural gas.  Biogas is produced when organic matter, such as food or animal waste, is broken down by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen.

“Many Australian families and individuals continue to choose to install gas in their homes for power, heating, and cooking. The message that we as plumbers are hearing from the community is that people want to continue to be able to choose what’s best for them and their family,” Mr Martin said.

“The most important thing for state and territory governments is that they consult with the community on the future of gas as an option to power homes.  We think many people would be surprised to learn that they could no longer have a choice about how they cook in or heat their home.

“Australians want a reliable, customer-focused energy system, and the freedom to choose the sustainable energy option that best meets their needs. The resilience of our electricity infrastructure has been tested in recent years, and the cost of switching to electricity is significantly higher, so it’s understandable that 100% electrification might not be an appealing prospect for many Australian families.

“Vitally, prematurely shutting down the domestic gas industry would see Australia lose the opportunity, expertise, and infrastructure that would support a successful renewable gas industry.

“Australia does not have the workforce to deliver 100% electrification, but it does have a highly skilled workforce that can support renewable gas. For this reason, government needs to engage more closely with the plumbing sector to fully grasp both the challenges and opportunities ahead,” Mr Martin said.

As the industry peak body, Master Plumbers Australia and New Zealand is engaging with government and industry partners to encourage an evidence- and risk-based approach to future gas policy, that keeps the option open for a vibrant renewable gas industry in Australia.

Media contact: Sophie Hull, Australian Public Affairs, shull@apa.au, 0431 802 240

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