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Construction company prosecuted after digging near gas pipeline

Tuesday 27 June 2023 at 5:25 am

An Energy Safe Victoria investigation has resulted in a prosecution against a construction company that ignored safety requirements to avoid digging within three metres of a gas transmission pipeline in Frankston South.

Scott Civil Construction Pty Ltd was found guilty and fined $1,700 under the Gas Safety Act 1997 in the Frankston Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 22 June.

The construction company had been excavating and installing National Broadband Network cabling at a property near the Moorooduc Highway in September 2020 without a permit.

It carried out the works despite receiving a direction from Before You Dig Australia that a permit needed to be issued by the gas company before the work started.

A pipeline patroller saw the work being carried out and reported the activity to Energy Safe Victoria. No contact was made with the pipeline.

Making contact and damaging a gas transmission pipeline poses serious safety risks to the community and the gas network. Consequences range from compromising the community’s gas supply, to gas leaks and in worse-case scenarios, explosions.

Transmission pipelines carry gas at high pressure to the gas supply network. They are patrolled by gas companies and operators to ensure unauthorised work does not occur.

A gas company who owns or operates a gas transmission pipeline must authorise excavating or boring or opening any ground within three metres of a transmission pipeline.  

Energy Safe CEO Leanne Hughson said construction companies should check with Before You Dig Australia and follow their advice before digging anywhere.

“The integrity of our gas pipeline network needs to be protected for the safety of the community and the gas supply,” Ms Hughson said.

“It’s disappointing and concerning this company chose to ignore clear advice about excavating around the gas pipeline network.”

For more information: esv.vic.gov.au.

Media contact: Adrian Bernecich 0437 729 194