Farmers fear eight years of silence on recently renewed gas pipeline

Farmers fear eight years of silence on recently renewed gas pipeline

News
Aa

Farmers in the pathway of a proposed $1-billion gas pipeline are disappointed they haven't heard from the company in more than eight years.

Aa

FARMERS in the pathway of a proposed $1-billion gas pipeline are disappointed they haven't heard from the company behind the project in more than eight years.

However the development's manager says given nothing has changed, there has been no need to - despite the state government recently granting the project a five-year extension.

Several landholders in the Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains shires said it had been years since they heard anything from Hunter Gas Pipeline, the company behind the project that stretches 700km from the Queensland border to Newcastle.

It was first granted approval in 2009, but in October it was granted a five-year extension, after failing to get underway during the past decade.

Quirindi farmer Peter Wills was shocked to find his property was in the pipeline's pathway. His father had been contacted by the company in 2011, but made no mention of it before he passed away.

"They put the onus on dad to let the next landholder know - that doesn't cut the mustard, the onus should be on the company to inform new landholders," he said.

"We did a title search and it didn't come up.

"The company wasn't aware that the land their pipeline runs through had changed hands. We are the most important stakeholders in this and they are not communicating with us."

Hunter Gas Pipeline managing director Garbis Simonian confirmed the last time landholders had been spoken to was April, 2011, but defended the lack of consultation.

"Up until recently, there had been no significant development in regards to the project," Mr Simonian said.

He estimated "no more than 100" landholders would be impacted in the Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains shires.

Lock the Gate spokeswoman Georgina Woods said the community had been kept in the dark, and it had "set the project off on the wrong foot".

"I think landholders along the pipeline receiving no contact in all those years would have assumed they decided not to proceed with it - only to discover a five-year approval from a news story," Ms Woods said.

"The development consent expired at the beginning of this year, and the renewal would have required detailed survey work.

"They have an obligation to meet with the people whose land it transverses though. Instead they've offered nothing but silence and treated them with contempt."

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by