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Councillor calls for gas to be banned from new builds in Orange

August 24, 2023

Stock image and (inset) councillor David Mallard (supplied).

By Peter Holmes

Gas should be banned from future housing and commercial developments in Orange, according to Greens councillor David Mallard.

In the wake of the Victorian government and three Sydney councils (Sydney City, Canterbury-Bankstown and Parramatta) instituting or investigating full or partial bans, Mallard said Orange should remove gas from new builds.

“We need to do it now,” he said. “I think it’s a necessary and really sensible step if we want to reduce emissions. There’s no need for gas in any new residential or commercial development. There are better solutions available.”

He pointed to electric induction cooktops as an example of how technology had made it easier to switch from gas.

However some chefs say that gas is essential to certain style of cooking, such as when using a wok.

Mallard said there was evidence showing that the burning of gas indoors can cause asthma and that a shift from gas to renewable electricity “would be better in terms of public health”.

After Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced the new policy recently, NSW premier Chris Minns was asked whether NSW as a whole would look at banning gas in new developments.

He said no.

“I was disappointed he said that,” Mallard said.

“I’m not sure why he did. We need to talk about this [happening] in Orange and we need to look at really massive investment to supply our energy through renewables - more solar, more wind, more batteries.”

He said he was “confident” that innovation would provide solutions around building and recycling elements such as solar panels, old batteries and wind turbine blades.

“The work is happening on that and we’ve already got arrangements for recycling solar panels through [Ophir Road] Resource Recovery Centre.

"Batteries will be one of the next things - there is still time for us to find those solutions. But we’ve already got the solutions to replace gas appliances and we can do that right now.

“We talk a lot about waste in terms of connections to solar and batteries and recycling those resources, but what people don't talk about is that we generate massive waste through burning coal.”

In a recent opinion piece, Dr Simon Wright from CSU’s Gulbali Institute for Agriculture, Water and Environment, described gas as “dirty and expensive”.

“Australia, and each state and territory, have clear goals to reach net zero carbon emissions over the next few decades,” he wrote.

“This is, in theory, a relatively simple goal and putting a stop to gas consumption is an equally achievable technique to reach said goal.”

He said “gas has become, and will continue to be, more and more expensive”.

“Coal-fired power stations are closing primarily because they are reaching their natural end-of-life and renewables are the cheapest replacement, making the switch from gas a smart economic choice for households.”

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