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Community
AGL Energy Limited 38
Community engagement
UpstreamGas
AGL is committed to ensuring that coal seam gas
(CSG) exploration and production activities minimise
impacts on the environment and the community, and
can comfortably co-exist with other land uses, including
residential, viticulture and tourism. AGL recognises
the importance of co-operative engagement with
community stakeholders.
Approach
To engage the community and effectively respond to community
concerns, AGL consults with landowners, neighbours, residents, local
councils and relevant government agencies during all stages of the
project life-cycle.
Currently, only AGL’s Camden Gas Project in New South Wales is
in commercial production stage. AGL also operates coal seam gas
exploration projects in Gloucester, Galilee and the Hunter Valley.
AGL also operates conventional oil and gas assets in Silver Springs,
and has two gas storage projects: Stage 1 of the Silver Springs
Underground Gas Storage Project commenced operation in late
2011, and the Newcastle Gas Storage Facility is in development.
In the Cooper Basin, AGL is the operator for a large oil exploration
permit, and holds geothermal permits in Victoria, New South Wales
and Queensland.
AGL acknowledges the significant levels of concern in rural and
regional communities surrounding the Australian CSG industry,
particularly in relation to issues such as land access and water
resources. Over the past 12 months, we understand there has been
widespread unease in some local communities with regard to the
industry. This was demonstrated to AGL in Gloucester when protest
action by members of the community, concerned about potential
water impacts, delayed the commencement of drilling.
AGL believes that greater levels of community engagement can
assist to address many of these concerns. By committing additional,
locally based community relations resources AGL is working
towards achieving greater levels of community engagement.
AGL seeks to provide local communities with a high level of
information in relation to proposed and operating projects.
We enable interested community members to access relevant
information through regular community meetings, drop-in sessions,
field days, site visits, newsletters, newspaper advertising, email
updates, Community Consultative Committees (CCCs), and one-
on-one conversations with stakeholders. Dedicated sections
on AGL’s website provide project information including meeting
minutes and other relevant documentation, including Environmental
Assessment reports.
The Camden, Gloucester and Hunter projects have active CCCs,
each chaired by an independent chairperson. The three CCCs
include local council appointed representatives, local residents,
local environment groups and AGL representatives. The CCCs
provide a forum for community involvement, where members can
ask questions and make suggestions which AGL responds to and
adopts where appropriate. The CCCs participate in consultation
processes for proposed exploration and development activities and
also oversee the environmental performance of those activities once
in operation. In 2012, AGL established a CCC at the Newcastle Gas
Storage Facility, to provide an additional opportunity for dialogue
between the project and the community.
AGL has established dedicated groundwater and surface water
monitoring networks across its Gloucester, Hunter and Galilee
exploration areas, and in the vicinity of its proposed natural gas
storage facility at Tomago. Refer to page 87 for further information.
Performance
Community engagement plans are in place and active for each of
AGL’s Upstream Gas projects. The community engagement plans
outline the key stakeholder groups that AGL will engage with
during project development and operation, and the mechanisms
for engagement.
During FY2012, AGL actively participated in the New South Wales
Government’s review of strategic regional land use planning and
made a public submission to the New South Wales Government’s
Upper House inquiry. In the submission AGL advocated for greater
community consultation requirements, stronger water management
regulation and a code of conduct to set minimum industry standards
for projects in New South Wales.
Camden Gas Project
The Camden Gas Project in the Macarthur region of New South
Wales consists of low-pressure underground gas gathering lines and
the Rosalind Park Gas Plant. As at the end of FY2012 there were
143 wells, of which 89 were operational and producing natural gas.
In FY2012 the Camden gas project team began a series of
“open days”. These open days provided members of the public,
government, the media and other key stakeholders opportunities
to meet the project team and tour the Camden Gas project.
Community consultation regarding the proposed northern expansion
included briefings for state and local government agencies,
landowners and stakeholders through a program of meetings
and workshops.
The Camden CCC met on four occasions during FY2012. A
community representative for the proposed northern expansion
of the Camden Gas Project attended the CCC during the year.
Topics discussed by the Camden CCC during FY2012 included:
>> the proposed northern expansion of the project;
>> environmental monitoring and incident reporting;
>> changes to the New South Wales planning legislation;
>> groundwater monitoring; and
>> compensation for landowners
Other key community engagement initiatives during
FY2012 included:
>> participation in the Camden and Campbelltown regional shows;
>> joining with Barragal Landcare in a regeneration activity on
EMAI land;
>> community Partnership with Mater Dei School in Camden; and
>> community Partnership with Youth Off the Streets and the Koch
Centre for Youth in Macquarie Fields.