Dalton gas-fired plant sparks pollies' reaction

OBJECTORS: Dalton resident Lesley Bush, Margarita Georgiadis from Gunning and Phil Waine of Dalton are rallying residents against AGL's gas-fired power station.
OBJECTORS: Dalton resident Lesley Bush, Margarita Georgiadis from Gunning and Phil Waine of Dalton are rallying residents against AGL's gas-fired power station.

Hume MP Angus Taylor says he’s yet to be convinced a gas-fired power station at Dalton is necessary.

”In the last year we have the utilisation of gas generators falling to 15 per cent, which represents massive under-utilisation and a sharp fall from previous years,” he said.

“Given such low utilisation, it is hard to see why a new generator is necessary, and why the local community should have to be distracted by this extension.

“Instead, we need to focus on increasing the utilisation of our existing gas generators to contain upward pressure on prices.”

Mr Taylor was speaking about AGL’s plans for a gas-fired power station, 4km north of Dalton. The company has applied for a two-year extension on its 2012 approval to explore its need.

Goulburn MP Pru Goward said the community was “overwhelmingly against” the modification application.

“I support the community and after consultation with community spokespeople, am not convinced of the merits of this proposed extension,” she said.

“I believe this should be classified as a new proposal not simply an extension.”

The Goulburn Post understands that Ms Goward met with residents on Tuesday and undertook to write to Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Minister for Energy and resources, Don Harwin and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Sarah Mitchell.

Ms Goward is also hosting ‘listening sessions’ for residents at Dalton at 3pm to 4pm and 4.15pm to 5.15pm on Monday.

The Post also understands the MP will lodge a formal written submission to the NSW Department of Planning during the application’s exhibition phase, ending April 13.

Meantime, Upper Lachlan Shire councillors John Searl and Darren O’Brien have called for an extraordinary meeting next Monday, April 10 in response to community concerns about the proposal.

Their motion asks that the council lodge a submission objecting to the two-year extension for the station “on behalf of residents in the nearby communities of Dalton and Gunning.”

Council general manager John Bell said any submission had to address the extension and not “go over old ground” given that the station had already been approved. The council previously had input into consent conditions.

The meeting will be held at the Gunning Council Chambers 6pm Monday.

AGL is also holding a public information night at Dalton’s Saint Matthew’s Church hall from 7pm to 9pm Wednesday, April 5.

The company’s plans can be viewed on the NSW Department of Planning and Environment website: www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/page/on-exhibition/.

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