Health, Climate action, Hospitality and other community groups are all praising the Victorian Government decision to ban gas connections to new builds from 1 January 2024.
The announcement, which covers new subdivisions, new social housing, and new hospitals, is a major step forward in the fight against toxic air pollution and climate change.
Gas is a major contributor to both of these problems, and its use in new buildings will be prohibited from next year.
Today’s announcement follow a seismic shift in the property sector last week, with Frasers Property Australia and Cbus Property joining the GPT Group and Lendlease to take the combined total of buildings pledging to safer, electric cooking technology to $127 billion.
Healthy Futures Co-ordinator and GP, Dr Harry Jennens commented:
“This is a great day for Victorians. The Victorian Government is taking a strong stance on climate change and air pollution, and this announcement is a major step in the right direction.”
“It is well established that air pollution from gas appliances causes and exacerbates asthma and other illnesses. A child living in a house with a gas stove faces roughly a 32% increased risk of asthma, which is similar to a child living in a house with cigarette smoke. Gas appliances can even cause death through carbon monoxide poisoning.”
“Gas is a harmful fossil fuel that pollutes our air, causes disease and drives dangerous climate change. In contrast, electrical appliances are cleaner, healthier and cheaper to run than gas ones, so today’s announcement is a win-win-win for our health, our environment, and for lowering energy bills.”
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) also welcomed the government’s announcement.
“Reducing our exposure to gas from stoves is the right move for our health,” said Dr Aadhil Aziz, Victorian Co-Deputy Chair of the RACGP”.
“Gas stoves expose people to respiratory irritants which leads to a multitude of respiratory conditions, and research indicates this includes triggering asthma in children. Phasing out gas in our homes is the right choice for our health and the climate.”
“Australia’s emergency clinicians know that climate change is the biggest global threat to health and health systems.”
“ACEM supports initiatives that can minimise the impact of climate change, reduce the carbon footprint of hospitals and health systems, and help protect human health.”
Rewiring Australia has strongly endorsed Victoria’s decision to ban new gas connections for houses and apartments and said it will reduce energy bills for households, while also slashing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Rewiring Australia executive director, Dan Cass, said the policy was a profound act of climate leadership.
“The hottest days in recorded history have been recorded this year and it is clear we are in a climate emergency that demands faster action. The most efficient and equitable way to accelerate the rate of emissions reduction is electrification”.
“The fossil fuel industry will bleat about this decision because they want to keep gouging households and they do not care about the planet”.
“When someone shifts from grid power dominated by coal to rooftop solar, or from a petrol to electric car, they do more than change an energy source. They permanently lower their emissions and energy bills, and they never look back”.
Research published by Rewiring Australia since 2021 has demonstrated that there are significant financial benefits to households that replace gas-powered appliances with modern, efficient, electric alternatives, particularly for houses with rooftop solar.
It costs a resident of Victoria 49 cents to have a hot shower using gas. But if they use a commercially-available, solar powered heat pump, the cost plummets to just six cents.
Heating a Victorian home with gas costs an average of $2.47 per day, but with a solar and battery backed heat pump, the cost more than halves to $1.13.
Dr Saul Griffith, co-founder and chief scientist of Rewiring Australia, said the Victorian gas ban is the first step to ensuring all Victorians get access to the financial benefits of electrification.
“Victoria has the most to gain from electrification, because it has the most households relying on gas and exposed to price gouging by international gas companies”.
“The state government has a clear and sensible plan to lower household bills and decrease reliance on fossil fuels. This is the type of commonsense leadership Australia needs”.
Well-known chef and owner of Melbourne restaurant Lee Ho Fook, Victor Liong, represented the Global Cooksafe Coalition at the Victorian announcement and is also a strong advocate of electric cooking:
“A lot of the flavour of restaurant cooking, and the Chinese food at my own restaurant, is just about how hot the wok gets and how hot the ingredients get. The high temperatures on induction can give you this restaurant flavour at home”.
Renowned chef Peter Gilmore also joins the list of GCC supporters voicing their support for an electric cooking future today.
“I personally believe that cooking with electricity through the use of induction technology is the future for both commercial and domestic kitchens. It just makes sense environmentally and performance-wise.”
Director of the GCC, Laura Kelly said:
“Australia’s leading chefs, from Neil Perry to Palisa Anderson, are cooking on induction because it’s hotter, faster and more precise. It’s also cheaper to run and doesn’t emit the harmful chemicals into your home that gas cooktops do”.
“For home cooks, induction is a major upgrade and we’re proud to support the Victorian Government as they provide Victorians with the best power infrastructure and safest cooking technology on the market.”
Evidence about the negative health impacts of gas cooking is mounting. Last month, a new Stanford study found that a single gas burner can raise indoor levels of the carcinogen benzene above those in secondhand tobacco smoke.
Friend’s of the Earth Melbourne welcomed the Victorian announcement and said:
“It’s critical that this be a just transition and that nobody is left behind. We need to rapidly and equitably retire the gas pipeline system to ensure that lower income households still stuck with polluting gas can switch off gas and embrace clean, affordable renewable electricity”.
“This must be supported by thermal upgrades to ensure that homes are efficient and comfortable, and to reduce our energy demand to the bare minimum”.
The Energy Efficiency Council today welcomed the Andrews Government’s decision with EEC CEO Luke Menzel commenting
“All-electric homes are all-good for Victorian families. They are cheaper to run, healthier to live in, and help lower emissions.”
“Given the upfront costs of building an all electric home are comparable to building a home with a gas connection, that makes going all-electric a no brainer.”
Analysis by consumer group Renew found that building an all-electric home could reduce household energy bills by 35 per cent, and that these savings can double when electrification is paired with rooftop solar and energy efficiency upgrades.