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Get off the gas: Victoria is quitting gas, NSW should follow suit

Get off the gas: Victoria is quitting gas, NSW should follow suit 

28th July 2023 

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the states leading environmental advocacy organisation, welcomes the Victorian Government’s decision to quit gas in homes and government buildings, and urges NSW to follow their lead.  

The Victorian Government announced today that from January 1st 2024, new homes and government buildings won’t be permitted to have gas connections. 

This move will save consumers money, replace gas with more efficient alternatives and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

 “The Victorian Government has signalled with this decision that there is no place for gas in a clean energy future and NSW should follow their lead,” said Nature Conservation Council CEO Jacqui Mumford. 

“NSW Labor committed to developing a gas substitution roadmap and associated policy measures at their 2022 Conference, so now is the perfect time to get that underway.” 

“Quitting gas will accelerate the clean energy transition in NSW and will be critical in meeting the state’s emissions reduction targets of 70% by 2035.” 

“Methane gas is a planet cooking fossil fuel 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 20 years. It is also the world’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution. We have clearly entered a dangerous phase of climate destabilisation and crisis. The earth is sending the message loud and clear: there is no time to waste. 

“It’s time for the NSW Government to get serious, step up and take the bold action needed to address the climate crisis and ensure their commitments are met.” 

Statements attributable to NCC Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Mumford 

“Gas is expensive for the consumer and the planet. Gas prices will likely keep on rising and phasing out gas in homes will save households at least $1000 a year on their energy bills.” 

“Gas is harmful to human health, when used in the home, it has been proven to be akin to exposing children to cigarette smoke. Cooking and heating with gas causes up to 12 percent of childhood asthma cases. Electrifying homes is a no brainer.” 

Statement ends 

Media contact: Anna Greer 
E: [email protected] Ph: (02) 7208 9482 

Note: NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford is available for comment on request

No time for delay: NSW Government needs to go all in on renewables

Tuesday 25th July 2023 

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the states leading environmental advocacy organisation, has said that the NSW Government needs to get behind renewables and commit to closing coal-fired power plants on time. 

A new report released by Nexa Advisory, outlines more options for closing coal-fired power plants on time by ramping up the renewable energy transition.  

Nexa Advisory engaged Endgame Economics to provide evidence-based insights into the impacts of delaying the closure of coal-fired power. They found that consumers would pay $2,250-$3,000 more in electricity bills if the closures are delayed. 

The report also found that delays to the closures mean we would miss our emissions targets, exceed our emissions budget as well as risk power affordability, reliability and security. 

“There is no need to keep polluting coal-fired power plants open longer than planned,” said Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Officer, Jacqui Mumford.  

“Pouring hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into delaying the closure of aging, polluting power plants, is unacceptable when the alternative is to accelerate investment in renewables and save money for consumers.” 

The report made a number of recommendations, including: 

  • Accelerating new capacity build by mobilising funding through the Federal Capacity Investment Scheme and Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the NSW EnergyCo 
  • Bolster firming capacity through accelerated auctions to bring on “insurance” supply in Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) and amended Long Term Storage Auction (LTESA) contracts 
  • Exploring long-duration storage technologies like flow batteries and liquid air energy storage to support renewable generation projects as well as delivering hybrid storage with generation projects  
  • Facilitate new renewable generation and storage projects outside the REZ to take advantage of existing capacity in the transmission system and underwrite Power Purchasing Agreements to ensure a more rapid delivery of new firmed generation projects 
  • Advocating for new transmission lines to support the clean energy transition, and making transmission contestability a requirement for accessing Federal funds for transmission projects  
  • Distributed energy resources (DER) can play a complementary role through residential rooftop solar, however commercial and industrial DER (systems >100kW)  can play a significant role immediately, especially is the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme was increased from >100kW to >1,000K 

Statements attributable to NCC Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Mumford 

“The evidence from experts is mounting – two reports in the last week have shown what is possible if government has the willpower and the vision to ditch coal and go all in on renewables. 

"What is needed now is bold nation-building action that signals to industry that the path ahead for renewables is clear. 

“Delaying the closure of coal-fired power plants completely blows out our emissions budget, increases costs for the consumer and puts reaching the Federal Government’s renewable energy targets in doubt. 

“There is no time to delay. Climate collapse is happening before our eyes. The government needs to act now to shore up the clean energy transition. We need a swift, orderly and strategic exit from fossil fuels.” 

Statement ends 
Media contact: Anna Greer 
E: [email protected]  Ph: (02) 7208 9482 
Note: NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford is available for comment on request  

Paying Aussies to pollute - Peak environment groups denounce Jemena Energy for incentivising gas switch

2nd June 2023
Paying Aussies to pollute - Peak environment groups denounce Jemena Energy for incentivising gas switch

While the Victorian and NSW state governments are implementing policies designed to break Australia's toxic gas addiction, one gas company is blatantly undermining these programs by offering customers cash incentives to switch appliances in their homes to polluting methane gas. 

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC) and Environment Victoria, the leading environmental advocacy organisations from both states, have today criticised Jemena Energy for ‘gaslighting’ action on climate change by incentivising further burning of gas. 

In the midst of a climate crisis, Jemena is offering financial incentives for NSW customers to switch everyday appliances from electricity to gas, while misleading the public about the benefits, impacts and future viability of methane gas as an energy source.[1]  

“Gas is a fossil fuel that is a major contributor to the climate crisis”, Dr Brad Smith, NCC Policy and Advocacy Director said today. “Jemena is locking in carbon pollution by continuing to connect appliances in homes to fossil fuel gas infrastructure.”

"Every new appliance connected to gas locks in decades of guaranteed profits for Jemena, and decades of pollution for the rest of us. This company knows that its customers could save money and reduce pollution by switching to electric appliances, yet it is trying to lock people into a more expensive and destructive source of energy" Smith also said. 

Bronya Lipski, Environment Victoria’s Policy and Advocacy Manager said that with winter temperatures dropping and gas bills rising, both states need a bold plan that supports everyone to electrify their homes, ensuring no one is left behind.

“In Victoria, the State government is offering initiatives through its Solar Victoria and Victorian Energy Upgrades programs to help people transition away from gas to energy efficient electric homes. But in NSW, this perverse scheme from Jemena is undermining such progress.” 

“Across the country, people are waking up to the dangers of methane gas and the opportunity that electrifying our lives brings to cut climate pollution and power bills at the same time. But the powerful gas lobby is pushing back with everything they have. They are launching a multi-million dollar ad campaign to protect their record profits.”

“It is absurd and dangerous to see Jemena promoting gas appliances in this attempt to keep their dying industry afloat. We know that efficient electric appliances, powered by renewable energy are what's needed for a safe climate - not cash handouts to keep polluting.”

“The good news is that efficient electric appliances can save energy, reduce our bills and cut pollution, and with targeted government support, all households could be supported to switch to affordable, modern appliances.”

Statements attributable to Dr Brad Smith, NCC Policy and Advocacy Director:

“A safe climate for our kids means electrifying all homes by 2035. Every new gas appliance makes this mission harder and more expensive. 

“The NSW government needs to follow the lead of states like the ACT and Victoria and should develop a gas substitution roadmap, so that rather than purchasing polluting gas appliances, households can switch to cheaper, clean, renewable energy.”

“The use of gas in homes is also exposing Australian children to a higher risk of asthma.” [2]

“Cooking with gas causes up to 12 percent of childhood asthma cases.”

“This means a child living in a home with gas cooking faces a similar risk of asthma to a child exposed to cigarette smoke in their home”

Environment Victoria Policy and Advocacy Manager Bronya Lipski also noted:. 

“Our states are facing cold conditions, rising cost of living pressures, and exorbitant energy bills. Gas wrecks our climate, damages our health and is our most expensive form of energy. Yet Victoria burns more gas than any other state, and 60% of that is to heat our homes.” 

“But the gas lobby is pushing back with everything they have. They are launching a multi-million dollar ad campaign to protect their record profits. This is industry propaganda designed to deflect attention away from climate and health science, and directly challenge government ambition to ensure emissions reductions and renewable energy targets are met.”

Background information

[1] Jemena, the gas pipeline operator for NSW, is offering a $500 cashback to customers who replace an existing non-methane gas (“natural gas”) appliance with a methane gas appliance. For details see: 

[2] Climate Council, Invisible Danger: Gas, Asthma and our Children, 2021  


Statement ends 


Media contact: 


NSW Nature Conservation Council 

Clancy Barnard 

E: [email protected]  Ph: 0438 869 332 


Environment Victoria

James Norman

Media and Content Manager​

MOBILE: 0451 291  775


Note: NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford and Bronya Lipski, Environment Victoria Policy and Advocacy manager are available for further comment on request  


Coal-fired power station’s future under a toxic cloud as NSW EPA finds it has been operating illegally

The NSW Environment Protection Authority today gave Vales Point coal-fired power station on Lake Macquarie two years to come into compliance with the state’s clean air laws, after it found the power station's previous rolling exemption to the laws was illegal. 

Read more

Lithgow becoming clean energy hub as coal-fired generator turns to batteries

Today Lithgow takes another leap toward being a clean energy hub with EnergyAustralia announcing a new mega-battery at its coal-fired power station site.

Read more

Origin saves 87 million tonnes of climate pollution with Eraring closure

Origin’s announcement that it will close its Eraring power station in 2025 is a sign of the unstoppable momentum of change to cleaner and cheaper energy, according to the Nature Conservation Council.

“Origin’s announcement is a ray of hope for leaving a safe climate for our children," said Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian.

Singlehandedly, this announcement will avoid up to 87 million tonnes of climate pollution. That is more than the annual emissions of 167 countries, including Austria, New Zealand, and Greece.

"Origin's announcement means that over the next three and a half years, NSW’s clean energy industry will boom to ensure there is sufficient clean energy generation to continue bringing down power bills.”

“There is over $100bn of investment interest in clean wind, solar and batteries in the Hunter Renewable Energy Zone alone.”

“We need the NSW and Federal governments to step up and get the batteries, solar and wind farms, and transmission lines up and running by 2025 to ensure a seamless transition.”

“NCC welcome’s Origin’s commitments to provide tailored transition support to its workers, and to invest in new battery and pumped-hydro plants in NSW to provide clean energy on demand.


Background information:

Eraring Power Station, situated on the shores of NSW’s Lake Macquarie is the largest coal-fired power station in Australia.

Over the last five years, the Eraring power station emitted 69 million tonnes of CO2, making it the second largest climate polluting facility in NSW, narrowly behind AGL’s Bayswater power station which emitted 72 million tonnes of CO2 over the same period. It averaged 13.9 million tonnes per year over the same period, approximately 2.8% of Australia’s entire domestic emissions.

Table: Climate pollution from NSW coal-fired power stations

Source: Greenhouse and energy information by designated generation facility, Clean Energy Regulator


Coal power station emissions: Clean Energy Regulator, Greenhouse and energy information by designated generation facility

Australia annual emissions: 499 mt, National Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Government fails to rule out burning native forest for electricity

The Nature Conservation Council is deeply disappointed that the NSW Government hasn't done more to plug loopholes and shut down attempts to marketise our native forests in its response to the Sustainability of energy supply and resources in NSW inquiry.  

Jacqui Mumford, Deputy Chief Executive of NCC: “The NSW Government has missed an opportunity to provide additional protections to our increasingly vulnerable native forests, and the wildlife they support.  

“Burning trees for electricity is backwards; it destroys habitat for NSW’s iconic species and is dirty, costly and unnecessary. 

“When the government says that only native forest residues are allowed to be woodchipped and burnt to generate electricity, they don't say that this can include entire trees.i 

“Proposed projects such as the Verdant Biomass Power Station in Singleton, if approved, will create a market for bulldozing smaller and wonky trees that should be left standing in the forest to provide critical habitat to koalas and other species.” 

The Verdant Biomass Power Station in Singleton could burn 850,000 tonnes of biomass per year, sourced within 300km of the Singleton. It could see a massive increase in native forest logging on the north coast of NSW, if the Perrottet government neglects to amend the definition of wood residues. 

“This report comes only a week after the koala was uplisted to endangered, and was a real opportunity to take a step in the right direction. 

“This Inquiry made it clear that the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 must be amended to close loopholes that allow native forests to be woodchipped and burnt for electricity. The Government has ignored the advice of experts.” 

Coal communities urgently want governments to step up and support clean energy transition and coal clean-up: poll

As Australia’s ageing fleet of coal-burning power stations move closer to closure, an overwhelming majority of people polled in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria and Hunter region of NSW agree that state and federal governments need to urgently step up to support both coal communities and industries to transition to clean energy.

The new polling comes as Australia's top polluter AGL prepares to deliver its 'market update' tomorrow, expected to include new climate targets and an earlier closure date for Loy Yang power station in the Latrobe Valley.

The YouGov poll, conducted for Environment Victoria and Nature Conservation Council of NSW, surveyed 600 people across the Latrobe Valley in Victoria and Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

It found a strong appetite for governments to take a more active role in supporting both communities and industry to transition to renewable energy, including ensuring that companies take responsibility for the toxic legacy of their coal power stations and mines.

The poll found that, across Hunter and Latrobe Valley:

  • More than three quarters (76%) agreed that governments should do more to transition from burning coal to renewable sources of power to meet our future energy needs.

In Victoria’s Latrobe Valley:

  • Nine out ten (90%) respondents agreed that as Victoria’s coal burning power stations and coal mines are closed down, the state government should ensure power station owners are responsible for the complete clean-up of sites so that they are safe and can be used for other purposes.
  • Eight out of ten (80%) respondents agreed that governments should support heavy industry to switch to affordable, renewable energy to support local manufacturing sectors.
  • Seven out of ten (70%) agreed that the state government should plan to retire old coal burning power stations over the next decade - with support for workers to retrain to be part of a solid economic future for the Latrobe Valley.
  • A clear majority (57%) of respondents supported an early closure of Loy Yang if there is a solid plan to look after workers.

In NSW’s Hunter Valley:

  • Eight out of ten of respondents (80%) agreed that the state government needs a plan to retire coal burning power stations in NSW over the next decade with support for workers to retrain to ensure a solid economic future for the local region.
  • Just over three quarters (77%) of respondents agree that the NSW government should do more to transition from coal to renewables
  • 68% of respondents agreed that so long as there is a plan to look after power station workers and the community, switching to renewable power over the next decade is the best option for NSW.
  • Over nine in ten (91%) of respondents agreed that retired coal power stations need to be rehabilitated.
  • 84% of respondents agree that the NSW government should support heavy industry to switch to renewable energy.
  • A strong majority (68%) believe that when coal power stations are retired, renewables and batteries should replace them.

Jono La Nauze, Environment Victoria CEO, said:

“This polling shows the Latrobe Valley community is urgently calling for a plan that will enable Victoria to move towards renewable energy while supporting the workers and communities that have powered the state for decades.”

“It's time for our governments to step up and show they are serious about developing the new industries and technologies that will create new jobs in these communities and enable all Victorians to reap the benefits of a transition to clean, renewable energy.”

“With the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasting that all Victorian coal power stations could close by 2032, the need for a community-led transition plan is more urgent than ever.”

“Currently the Latrobe Valley Authority is only funded until mid 2022. We’re calling on the Victorian government to extend this funding until the last power station closes, and to work with locals to build a community-led transition plan for the region.”

“These results also make it glaringly clear that communities living close to coal mines want the state government to ensure that the private companies clean up their giant holes in the landscape and make them safe for future use.”

Jacqui Mumford, Nature Conservation Council acting Chief Executive, said:

“These results reveal many residents in the Hunter are looking toward a future beyond coal and waiting for politicians to support that change.”

 “Pretending this energy transition isn’t happening helps no one. We need power station owners to come clean with realistic closure dates by 2030, so the community can plan ahead. We need all governments to take a much more active role in planning a transition for workers and the community”

“These results show that Hunter Valley locals want a clear plan to support our industries to make the switch to clean energy. It’s time for politicians to catch up with the community.”

Local community leaders in the Latrobe Valley region also welcomed the findings.

Tony Wolfe, senior operator at Loy Yang Power Station and Latrobe Valley community advocate, said:

“The owners of these sites have irreversibly changed the landscape while collecting massive financial rewards. The Latrobe Valley community  deserves to have our land returned in pristine condition, and the State government needs to ensure sufficient training and support for displaced workers so they can convert to the new clean energy industries.”

“This presents a perfect opportunity to engage our local indigenous communities to guide us on the future stewardship of this land,” he said.

The Yougov phone poll was conducted on a representative sample of more than 600 Australian voters aged 18+ in the Latrobe Valley and Hunter regions.

Legislating emissions targets would be a step forward for NSW

The Nature Conservation Council urges the NSW Government to support the ALP’s proposal make emissions targets legally binding by enshrining them in law. [1] 

The NSW Government has committed to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and halve them by 2030. 

 “We have applauded the NSW Government for setting ambitious emissions reduction targets but have always been concerned that they are purely aspirational and not legally binding,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“There is currently nothing to prevent a new government or a new leader scrapping or reducing these targets at the stroke of a pen. 

“Enshrining them in legislation makes it much harder for a future government to crab-walk away from these commitments to the people of NSW. 

“Legislating these targets would also provide greater certainty for clean-energy investors and for the general public. 

“I would urge the NSW Government to either support Labor’s bill when it comes before the house or put up their own, along the lines of Victoria’s 2017 Climate Change Act.” 


[1] NSW Labor to propose new legislation to protect net zero emissions target, SMH, 6-11-21. NSW Labor wants emissions reduction targets enshrined in law, AUS, 6-11-21 

Rylstone should have been spared the trauma of the NSW Government’s coal obsession

Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive, Chris Gambian said: 

“It is great news that the threat of coal mining, which has hung for almost a year over the heads of the Rylstone community, has now been lifted.   

“They should never have been subjected to the emotional trauma of resisting this outrageous proposal in the first place.  

“Now these good people can get on with their lives.  

 “The NSW Government should never again approve a coal or gas project in NSW.  

“We simply can’t afford it, for the climate, for nature and for our kids.” 

MEDIA CONTACT: James Tremain | 0419 272 254