Deniliquin's SunRice has thrown their support behind a natural gas connection to the town.ZOE MCMAUGH January 7, 2014 4:56am
SunRice has said a natural gas connection would be ‘‘of interest to us’’, enhancing the likelihood of a connection being extended to Deniliquin.
SunRice chairman Gerry Lawson said the company supported Deniliquin Council in its push to get a pipeline to Deniliquin, saying access to natural gas would deliver a ‘‘significant cost saving’’ for the leading food company.
Deniliquin Mayor Lindsay Renwick said the support can only help with attempts to have the NSW or Federal Government, who want proof of demand, fund the project.
Deniliquin Council has been fighting for a natural gas connection for more than a decade.
The fight became more vigorous after local state forests were converted to national parks in 2010, limiting access to firewood.
Cr Renwick maintains that because the limited access was created by the government, it should be responsible for providing a suitable heating alternative.
With the NSW Government’s Home Heating Taskforce recommending a natural gas connection and Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley actively seeking funding for such a project, Cr Renwick said SunRice’s support has come at an opportune time.
‘‘There has always been an argument (from both NSW and federal governments) that there was no demand – now we have some support,’’ Cr Renwick said.
‘‘I’m pleased that such a big company, who will surely need a natural gas connection, is behind our push.
‘‘The proposed ethanol plant, which is still waiting for a big tick from the NSW Government, would also need natural gas to remain viable.
‘‘The government can no longer say there is no demand.’’
As well as Deniliquin’s rice mill and Australian Grain Storage operations and the ethanol plant, the Pastoral Times also believes the soon to be re-opened Deniliquin Abattoir would also benefit from a natural gas connection.
Mr Lawson’s support of the natural gas connection is the first public announcement of support from SunRice.
He said the operational and cost saving benefits to the Deniliquin operations, if it was to be connected to natural gas, would be undeniable.
‘‘Natural gas would certainly be of interest to us – it is a compelling source of energy,’’ he said.
‘‘It will provide significant cost savings, and also enable you to do other things.
‘‘The opportunities would be significant if we could have access to affordable natural gas.’’
Mr Lawson said one area where natural gas would provide benefits is in the rice drying facilities.
‘‘We dry all the rice – some by natural air and others through gas cylinders which have to be trucked in.
‘‘Natural gas would certainly make this process more efficient.’’
SunRice confirmed about 75,000 tonnes of paddy rice is dried at the Deniliquin mill each year during harvest, and that driers are powered by LPG trucked onto site.
It said while annual usage varies due to seasonal variations in the industry, the switch from LPG to natural gas would deliver a definite cost benefit.
Last month, Ms Ley revealed pending Murray-Darling Basin Plan compensation money could be used to fund the natural gas project.
She said when the NSW Government signs the basin plan agreement, it will be given a third of the $100 million Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program funding.
She is personally campaigning for the funding to be used to link the gas connections at Finley and Moama, running through Deniliquin and Mathoura.
The Victorian Government has allocated its share of the diversification fund to connecting natural gas to Murray River communities, which Ms Ley and Cr Renwick said could be linked with the NSW project.
Cr Renwick said the hurdle now, however, is tackling perceived capacity issues.
‘‘Now the government is saying they don’t have enough supply to get from Finley to Deniliquin, which has something to do with the size of the pipes,’’ Cr Renwick said.
‘‘I’ve been saying that a connection from Finley to Deniliquin, at least, would provide enough gas for most of us (in Deniliquin).
‘‘We have to beef up the line, and from what I understand the Victorian project will address that issue.
‘‘This is a good chance for the NSW and Victorian Governments to work with the Federal Government on this project.
‘‘I’m sure when governments get back in full mode this week it will be one of the first tasks – it is certainly the first thing to be discussed by Deniliquin Council.’’
A man suffered serious burns to his face and chest after a butane can explosion caused a fire at a Shepparton house yesterday.
More than 2200 people have signed up to show their support for a campaign to have the green route chosen for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
Murray Shire councillor Geoff Mackenzie apologised to councillors at a Murray Shire Council meeting on Tuesday about any offence caused by comments he made in November.
Painter Ben Winspear and Scott Wileman will create new works as the public look on during the at Rochester Art Exhibition.
Kyabram Bombers have the chance to beat Rochester under light for the first time this Friday evening.
Lions star recruit had a tough introduction to the GVFL.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Heathcote's Union Hotel is continuing its record of fundraising for the Royal Children's Hospital.
Moira Shire Council's new chief executive says he will 'establish a standard of behaviour' as part of an overhaul of the organisation.
Senior state minister Adrian Piccoli reaquainted himself with Deniliquin yesterday, leaving Deniliquin Counil hopeful it has an ally in him.
With his blue eyes and snow-coloured coat, Nanneella horse Sinatra has looks worthy of a fairytale.
Benalla mother Denise Cooke will hold an Anzac Day tennis event to raise funds for the Cambodian orphanages from where she adopted her children.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.