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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed the introduction of legislation to develop offshore electricity infrastructure with local jobs at stake.

Mr Chester said the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill introduced to Federal Parliament would establish a regulatory framework to cover all phases of generation and transmission projects.

“Large scale projects are already being proposed for Bass Strait with hundreds of local jobs likely to be generate if the projects are approved,” Mr Chester said.

“This legislation will provide the energy industry with the certainty it needs to further invest in offshore projects, complete the feasibility work, and get them underway, if they are viable.

“Extensive community consultation has started and our region has some competitive advantages due to the availability of wind, and existing energy infrastructure.

“Already we have proposed projects that will benefit from this legislation, including the Star of the South project off our Gippsland coast and the Marinus Link interconnector between Victoria and Tasmania.

“These projects have the potential to boost the reliability of our energy sector and create local jobs through construction, development and ongoing operational requirements.”

Mr Chester said the legislation delivered on a 2019 election commitment to establish the framework.

“There have been many calls to establish this framework and the introduction of the legislation is a positive step forward,” Mr Chester said.

“As we look to diversify our energy base, we must ensure that there is legislation in place that protects existing users like commercial and recreational fishing, and also allows projects to proceed if they are in the national interest.”

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