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Renewed Push for Gas Pipeline

7 December 2012

Circular Head General Manager Greg Winton today announced Council had submitted a new application to extend Tasmania’s natural gas pipeline network from Port Latta to Smithton.

Mr Winton said Council had partnered with Tas Gas Networks Pty Ltd and Tasmanian Dairy Products to apply for funding as part of the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport’s Regional Development Australia Fund (RDFA), which will provide $175 million for infrastructure projects that address regional priorities.

"While Council was unsuccessful in a previous application, as stated in January it is Council’s intention to continue with this push because of the many benefits it will bring to Smithton particularly," Mr Winton said.

Mr Winton said the $15 million project ticked a number of boxes in regards to the funding criteria.

"This application is essentially about future proofing the energy needs for Circular Head," Mr Winton said.

"The development will assist grow the local economy and provide community benefit while also assisting to address carbon emission issues."

Mr Winton said the application included the reticulation of natural gas throughout the town centre of Smithton, which meant the total project comprised about 50km of pipeline and associated infrastructure.

"Natural gas will provide access to a competitive energy source and will underpin the liveability and social wellbeing of the community," Mr Winton said.

"The other obvious benefit is that the project will support growth in the region’s dairy and food processing sectors and to facilitate diversification and innovative business investment."

If successful the development would commence in August 2013 and be completed by December 2014 delivering about 15 full time equivalent jobs during construction and two long term full time equivalent positions.

"The flow on effects of this project would help provide an impetus to the introduction of innovative solutions to the transitioning timber industry," Mr Winton said.

"It is anticipated that the introduction of a competitive form of energy to the region, coupled with the area’s affordable industrial land values, will attract innovative investment in new industries that require an agricultural resource, such as ethanol production, laminates, plywood or quality timber veneers, meat and aquaculture processing."