Energy security for people living in Avenel, Nagambie, Longwood and Kirwans Bridge will be the focus of a $500,000 business case.
Currently, the region is plagued by blackouts during critical times, such as during natural disasters or extreme heatwaves.
A local benefactor donated funding to develop a solar system microgrid in Avenel consisting of 11 households earlier this year, and additional funding for a business case will allow smaller communities to take a step towards energy security.
The business case is part of the Liberal and Nationals’ comprehensive energy plan to provide affordable and reliable energy, which includes;
- Providing 1 million households with rebates of up to $4,400 – $1,400 for solar panels and $3,000 for a home batteries – with rebates doubled for rental properties;
- Encouraging conventional onshore gas production, including a domestic reservation policy within six months;
- Establishing a $1 billion Victorian Hydrogen Strategy;
- Unlocking 1,800 megawatts of renewable energy by upgrading transmission infrastructure in Western Victoria, and;
- Legislating a 50 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030.
Shadow Minister for Energy, David Southwick, outlined the importance of energy security for rural communities.
“It’s essential regional towns have a reliable energy supply and know the lights will turn on when they flick the switch,” Mr Southwick said.
“The poor supply situation around this part of central Victoria puts lives at risk in the hot summer months and during natural disasters, like we’ve seen in the past.
“The Liberals and Nationals are committed to providing Victorians with energy security and confidence in the system.”
Liberal Candidate for Euroa, Brad Hearn, said the investment was an example of straightforward but crucial governance.
“This investment and business case will provide a pathway to real solutions for people across the region who suffer under ongoing blackouts and disruptions to their energy supply,” Mr Hearn said.
“The Andrews Government has ignored the heart of regional Victoria for eight years and it is time for positive change in our region to see real results.
“The Liberals will support measures that place downward pressure on the cost of living for regional Victorians, we want to see more affordable energy that you actually get delivered to your home – not increases in personal generator usage, we deserve better.”
The Nationals Candidate for Euroa, Annabelle Cleeland, expanded on the broad benefits of secure supply for the Avenel-Nagambie region.
“I live on a farm near Avenel and there are real obstacles to doing business and staying safe on the farm with the common blackouts we experience,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Funding this business case will give us a great indication as to how we can support both domestic users and businesses, and having a transition plan toward renewable energy is a pragmatic approach to energy security.
“The Nationals will always be the party for regional Victorians and we shouldn’t have to settle for second best purely because of our postcode.”