AGL not so popular in Dalton

DALTON: Upper Lachlan Shire Council will tell the NSW Department of Planning and Environment it objects to a two-year extension of AGL's DA. Photo: Louise Thrower
DALTON: Upper Lachlan Shire Council will tell the NSW Department of Planning and Environment it objects to a two-year extension of AGL's DA. Photo: Louise Thrower

Upper Lachlan Shire Council will formally object to AGL’s bid for a two-year extension on its development application to build a gas-fired power station at Dalton.

A standing ovation greeted the council’s motion after it was passed at an extraordinary meeting on April 10, held in Gunning and the second of two public meetings.

Upper Lachlan councillors John Searl and Darren O’Brien had tabled and seconded the motion in response to community concerns about AGL’s request.

At the meeting, Upper Lachlan councillors questioned AGL’s head of government relations, Tony Chappel.

The former president of the Upper Lachlan Environment Association, Alister Waine, also addressed the meeting on behalf of the Dalton and broader district community.

Cr John Searl asked how many people would be locally employed at the proposed plant.

“We estimate around 10,” Mr Chappel said.

Cr Pam Kensit asked why AGL hadn’t made a start on the project since it submitted its DA five years earlier.

In 2012, the Planning and Assessment Commission granted AGL a five-year approval to construct a gas-fired power station about four kilometres north of Dalton.

“AGL doesn’t commence projects until they make a final investment decision,” Mr Chappel said.

“A company as substantial and organised as AGL surely should be able to decide whether they want to commit ... in a five-year time frame,” said Cr Paul Culhane.

Cr Richard Opie asked how AGL could give people confidence about what it would do over two years. Cr John Stafford said the project could change in that time.

“My invitation to you is to work with us to shape this project,” Mr Chappel said. 

“Whatever form it might ultimately take. It may not even be a gas project.

“As I said at the [April 5] meeting, battery technology and other technologies are advancing rapidly and … the right way to deal with that is to have the conversation with the public. Our position is to secure reliable electricity.”​

At Silverton, near Broken Hill, AGL is building a wind farm. The company has also recently completed a large solar project at Nyngan.

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