On 4 August, the ACT Government announced that it will phase out fossil fuel gas by 2045 by electrifying Canberra over the next two decades. While is an important part of the ACT’s overall transition to net carbon emissions, it has prompted many questions by our members about what this announcement means for building projects in planning or about to commence.
The following FAQs address some of our members initial questions.
When will new suburbs not be connected to gas?
In 2020 changes were made to the Territory Plan that meant that the inclusion of gas mains infrastructure into new suburbs was no longer a mandatory requirement for greenfield developments. As such, since 2020 it has been the choice of the land developer whether they seek to include gas mains infrastructure in new suburbs.
Any new suburbs, stages or estates, developed by the Suburban Land Agency are already being developed without gas mains infrastructure, meaning homes in these suburbs cannot be connected to gas infrastructure.
In new or existing suburbs where gas infrastructure has or will be laid, a Bill has been introduced into the Legislative Assembly effectively preventing a gas distributor from providing new gas connections in prescribed areas. Until this Bill is finalised, and transition arrangements finalised, new gas connections will not be prevented in these areas.
A consultation process that will include engagement with key stakeholders, such as the MBA, will commence before the end of this year. It is anticipated that a consultation Regulatory Impact Statement will be published early in 2023 with a call for public submissions. This process will inform the circumstances (such as land or development types or areas) in which new gas mains connections will be prohibited, exemptions, timing and transition periods.
How does the announcement impact homes under construction or already under contract?
It is not anticipated that a regulation would be in place until sometime during 2023. It is not expected that a new regulation would impact buildings that have already received Building or Development Approval unless the construction were to greatly exceed reasonable construction timelines. Lead-times for new building construction will be a key issues to be considered in the implementation of this policy and will be covered in the public consultation about a future regulation.
Will gas connections be provided for customers that request one?
Evoenergy will still provide gas connections in accordance with the National Energy Laws, until such time as a regulation is in place. Public and stakeholder consultation regarding the potential scope and timing of the future regulation will commence before the end of this year and continue in 2023.