City of Sydney votes to ban gas in new homes and businesses

Sun shining through Sydney Harbour Bridge with Sydney Opera House to the side (gas)
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The City of Sydney Council has passed a motion which kickstarts the process to require new homes and businesses across the municipality to be all-electric and gas-free.

The motion, moved by Cr (Waskam) Emelda Davis and seconded by Deputy Lord Mayor Sylvie Ellsmore, will insert new clauses into the council’s planning rules to require new homes and businesses, including apartments, to include electric appliances like stoves, cooktops, heaters and hot water units, instead of gas ones.

Related article: Victoria to phase out gas in new homes from 2024

According to new research conducted by Strategy Policy Research and commissioned by 350 Australia, the move could save every new household that’s built in Sydney an average of $430 per year on their energy bills.

This equates to more than $5,500 in today’s dollars over a typical 40-year life of a dwelling, totalling $256 million for all new homes across the City over the same period. At a state level, the savings are $3.7 billion for all new homes over the same period.

This move is also a win for the environment, which could save 1.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions compared with business as usual over 40 years, based on the same analysis. If every NSW council currently connected to the gas network followed Sydney’s lead, together they could avoid 24.1 million tonnes of carbon emissions over the same 40-year period.

The motion was in response to grassroots climate organisation 350 Australia’s ‘Electrify Your Council’ campaign, and comes after Premier Chris Minns said he wouldn’t follow Victoria’s and the ACT’s lead in banning gas connections to new homes.

The Sydney Council motion follows Waverley and Parramatta Councils, which recently passed new planning rules that prevent gas appliances in new homes and businesses.

350 Australia CEO Lucy Manne said, “Gas is a potent, fossil fuel that is accelerating the intersecting human and ecological crises caused by a heating planet. We need to end the age of fossil fuels now and we can start by eliminating toxic methane gas from our homes, shops and businesses.

“Only developers and gas corporations benefit from keeping our homes and businesses connected to gas.

Related article: ACT passes law to ban new fossil fuel gas connections

“We congratulate the City of Sydney for taking bold climate leadership and taking action where the state government is falling behind.”

Dr Ben Ewald, senior lecturer in epidemiology and member of health advocacy organisation Doctors for the Environment, said, “The flames of a gas stove or heater release toxic chemicals that cause asthma in susceptible people. Everyone with a gas stove should open a window or turn on an extractor fan every time they light it. Not connecting to gas in the first place is a better option, as all uses of indoor gas now have a better electric alternative.”

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