Victoria seeks to power up building sector for post-COVID recovery

Power providers would be compelled to commit to tighter time-frames to hook up new housing developments under Victorian laws intended to accelerate building projects and stimulate the economy as the state re-emerges from the coronavirus lockdown.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio launched a bill to Parliament on Tuesday to compel the nation’s power suppliers and grid operators to commit to preventing delays in connecting new homes to power across Victoria. The law will allow the minister to set time limits and penalties for breaches, which would be determined following industry consultation

Victoria has drafted new energy laws to help stimulate post-lockdown construction activity.
Victoria has drafted new energy laws to help stimulate post-lockdown construction activity. Credit:Paul Jones

It comes after multiple recent reviews of the state’s building industry revealed lengthy delays in power connections have blown out construction timetables and costs.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the legislation would provide support for Victoria’s construction industry and the state’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.


“Reducing delays in electricity connections to new housing developments will remove a considerable barrier for Victoria’s construction industry and housing supply,” she said.

The Andrews government has identified the building and construction sector as a “key mechanism” to revitalise the struggling Victorian economy. More than $7.5 billion of new housing, commercial and renewable energy projects have been given planning approval since March.

“As restrictions ease it’s crucial there’s an ongoing supply of projects to secure existing jobs, create more employment opportunities and keep investment coming into our state,” Treasurer Tim Pallas said.

The Essential Services Commission, which has investigated the problem of delayed power hook-ups for new housing developments, recently found connection times ranged from a few weeks to several months. “We believe there may be room for improvement,” it said.

The commission this month released a decision paper that requires distribution businesses to engage with housing developers and their contractors to develop a customer service standard.

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