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Petrol exploration application near Deniliquin surprises council

The submission period for a petroleum exploration project across the region has been extended.

CASS SAVELLIS January 15, 2014 4:36am

Conargo Shire Council has succeeded in having a submission period for a petroleum exploration project across the region extended.

Queensland company Grainger Energy Pty Ltd has made an application to explore for petroleum near Deniliquin, Hay, Moulamein and Griffith.

Despite advertising for the application process starting in The Land and Hay’s Riverine Grazier last month, Conargo Shire Mayor Norm Brennan said local councils were unaware of the exploration plan.

After arguing the company has not properly notified local residents of the plans, the submission deadline has been extended to February.

Official advertising of the project will also appear in the Pastoral Times for the first time today.

Conargo Shire Mayor Norm Brennan welcomed the extension, saying more notice should have been given to shires and their residents during the holiday period.

‘‘ABC Riverina called me last week to ask my opinion and we hadn’t heard anything about it,’’ he said.

‘‘I would have thought it’s normal protocol to advise shires of these applications through an email and access to more information.

‘‘We spoke to them and said the Pastoral Times covers a large area of readers that would not have seen the application notices.

‘‘We want to make sure people are aware of the applications, so they have the chance to comment if they wish.

‘‘The shire is neither for or against the application, but we’d like to be transparent so the landholders know what is going on’’.

Cr Brennan said companies are legally obligated to notify the public of applications, and said failure to notify the affected councils and overlooking the Pastoral Times in the advertising process was unacceptable.

Having started advertising on December 26, and public comment accepted for 28 days following, Cr Brennan said last week’s discovery of the project did not give residents or council enough time to investigate the project and its potential impacts.

Tecsol Australia founder Emma Montgomery, project consultant for Grainger Energy, said the application process will now be advertised locally as a result of community concerns .

‘‘The department advised us that we’ve already covered our obligations for advertising, but after comments from the community we decided to run ads in the Pastoral Times.

‘‘This then extends the public comment date to close in February.’’

Exact details of the project have not been supplied to the Pastoral Times, and a contact for Grainger Energy Pty Ltd could not be found.

For more information about the application, phone Emma Montgomery on (07)38558875.

The NSW Farmers’ Association is holding a workshop at Hay on Wednesday, January 22 which will cover titles arrangements, relevant government policy of the area and legal arrangements in relation to land access by exploration companies.

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