Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Mayor supports natural gas connection

Now is the ideal time to fight for natural gas connection, according to Murray Shire Mayor Tom Weyrich.

TYLA HARRINGTON May 20, 2014 3:45am

Murray Shire Mayor Tom Weyrich has thrown his support behind getting a natural gas pipeline from Moama to Deniliquin.

Cr Weyrich told the Pastoral Times yesterday he has always supported Deniliquin’s fight for a natural gas connection, but admitted he had not previously thought it was viable.

He believes large development proposals in Deniliquin have significantly strengthened the natural gas plea.

Coupled with an ‘‘excellent’’ meeting held earlier this month between Murray Shire, Deniliquin Council, Conargo Shire Council and Wakool Shire, Cr Weyrich said it is the ideal time to fight for the pipeline.

‘‘I’ve always supported a natural gas connection to Deniliquin but I didn’t think it was viable, particularly when the drought was in full swing,’’ he said.

‘‘Deniliquin and Murray Shire will be the main beneficiaries. Why wouldn’t we be interested in securing the pipeline?

‘‘There’s a bit of angst between the Deniliquin people and I, but I am a great supporter of Deniliquin.

‘‘(Talk of) amalgamation nearly drove a wedge between us, but it didn’t.’’

Cr Weyrich said with Mathoura and Deniliquin residents restricted with firewood collection options since the National Parks conversion in 2010, which essentially closed the timber industry, the only alternative is natural gas.

He believes the pipeline should be from Moama through Mathoura and to Deniliquin.

‘‘There’s more and more people being apprehended for removing wood from our local forest,’’ Cr Weyrich said.

‘‘Pressure is mounting for there to be an alternative heating source for the affected areas including Mathoura and Deniliquin.

‘‘Electricity is not the answer because it is too expensive and firewood is out of reach for most people.

‘‘The only alternative is a pipeline.

‘‘I’m also led to believe Moama’s pipeline is at maximum capacity ... I think between Deniliquin, Mathoura and Moama, this should be the exception for the NSW State Government to fund the project.

‘‘A minus (toward the proposed pipeline) is that the state government has never put $1 towards natural gas infrastructure.’’

The state government has previously told Deniliquin Mayor Lindsay Renwick that it will not fund a feasibility study on the connection, but will assist in getting the connection in ‘‘any way it can’’.

Cr Renwick said council was continuing to work towards a funding source for the feasibility study, with an outcome expected to be reached in the near future.

He also welcomed the support shown from Cr Weyrich and other surrounding councils.

‘‘All surrounding councils and shires have shown their support – be it monetary or theoretically. I thought it was very good of Tom ... it’s good to work together.’’

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