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Hunter Valley Coal Seam Gas Mining
28 October 2010
Hansard Page: 27064
Tomago Gas Storage Facility
Speakers Cotsis The Hon Sophie; Kelly The
Business Questions Without Notice, QWN
The Hon. SOPHIE COTSIS: My question is addressed to the Minister for Planning.
Will the Minister update the House on the planning process for the first gas
storage facility proposed for New South Wales?
The Hon. TONY KELLY: I acknowledge that this is the member's inaugural question
in this House. It is a really important and interesting question for the people
of the Hunter. What a great member she will be.
The New South Wales Government is committed
to ensuring a full suite of investment opportunities in gas supply and storage
technologies to help secure gas supply for New South Wales.
We are also committed to ensuring that the
State gas market remains competitive and supports the New South Wales Greenhouse
Plan by providing improved availability of gas as an alternative fuel to coal
I have today declared AGL's proposed gas
storage facility at Tomago, near Newcastle, to be critical infrastructure under
part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 on the basis that
it is essential to the State for economic, environmental and social reasons.
The proposed gas storage facility would
have the capacity to store approximately 30,000 tonnes of liquefied natural gas,
with the capacity to supply the New South Wales gas market with up to 120
terajoules per day. It would create up to 300 jobs in the Newcastle area during
the construction period and 15 direct jobs once operational, if approved.
The proposed gas storage facility would be a first for New South Wales and would
help to meet gas supply and demand shortfalls.
This is important because New South Wales
currently relies on gas sources from other States and is vulnerable to gas
supply interruptions in those States.
It is also important because the Australian
Energy Market Operator predicts that midwinter peak gas demand for the New South
Wales-Australian Capital Territory market will exceed supply in 2014.
The benefits of this project to the State, if approved, include: assisting in
the provision of a reliable and stable gas supply for new and existing
gas-reliant industries and the community of New South Wales;
a reduction in New South Wales's current
reliance on interstate gas suppliers and risk to supply interruptions, either
along the pipeline or at the source;
helping to provide a competitively priced
gas market with improved availability of gas as an alternative fuel;
and facilitating the displacement of older,
less efficient power generators with newer, more efficient and less carbon
intensive power generating facilities.
The declaration of this project as critical infrastructure ensures that, if
approved, it will not be held up by legal challenges, but rather can be
constructed in time to meet the rapidly approaching deadline.
The Department of Planning is still
required to undertake a thorough and transparent environmental assessment to
ensure a sustainable outcome in both the short and long term. The critical
infrastructure declaration will also not affect the duration of the public
exhibition and participation period nor the requirement to invite and consider
The director general's requirements for the environmental assessment have
recently been issued to the proponent to prepare the environmental assessment.
The Department of Planning is now awaiting
the lodgement of the proponent's environmental assessment prior to this
significant infrastructure proposal proceeding to the public exhibition phase of
the planning process.
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