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Bill to Ban Gas Connections to New Homes Introduced

7 September 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to amend the Gas Act 1997. Read a first time.

Second Reading

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill seeks to ban all new gas connections for new builds from 2025. We are taking this step because we are in the midst of a climate emergency in South Australia. The South Australian parliament has passed a climate emergency declaration and it is time for us to take action to transition away from dirty fossil fuels. Unless we keep global warming to below 1.5º, the IPCC claims that South Australia will see more hot days, declining rainfall, more drought and more dangerous fire conditions.

To meet climate targets we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and that includes natural gas. Gas is a non-renewable resource and we need to start transitioning to sources of energy that are not going to run out over time. Some argue that gas produces less emissions than coal and should be used as a transition fuel source, and it is true that gas is less emitting than coal, but if we power our electricity grid with renewables rather than coal, electricity is a far cleaner option. The Grattan Institute states:

The transition fuel argument should not distract from the fact that Australia, and the rest of the world, must consume less gas over time to reduce the effects of climate change.

Fifty-six per cent of South Australian homes are connected to gas. As a non-renewable resource, gas is going to increase in price as supply reduces. The Grattan Institute report indicated that gas prices will climb in the coming year, putting extra pressure on families who are locked into gas connections in their home.

Renewable energy is now seen as substantially cheaper to produce than natural gas, with prices continuing to fall; therefore, our best solution for household energy needs is to transition to solar and wind to reduce emissions rather than relying on gas and non-renewable fossil fuel. This bill starts the process by banning future connections from January 2025.

I understand that only 7 per cent of South Australians use gas for cooking, but many cooks and chefs have now publicly stated that they are turning to induction cooking, given it is superior in terms of precision and speed. I will have to take their word on that. I am not renowned for my cooking skills, but I have heard that the induction cooktop is a lot better.

I commend the Malinauskas government's commitment to green hydrogen as an alternative fuel source, but the reality is we are not yet in a position where we can pump green hydrogen through the existing gas network, so what we really need to be doing is banning gas connections for new builds. I do not intend to provide much further detail on this bill at this point because you will be hearing a bit from me over the next little while. With that, I conclude my remarks.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.