Upper Hunter Shire Council votes to support Hunter Gas Pipeline, but only if it's located on public land

NOT ON OUR LAND: Upper Hunter councillors have decided not to outright oppose the contraversial Hunter Gas Pipeline but to push for it to be located off agricultural land. Photo: File
NOT ON OUR LAND: Upper Hunter councillors have decided not to outright oppose the contraversial Hunter Gas Pipeline but to push for it to be located off agricultural land. Photo: File

UPPER Hunter Shire Council has decided to support the Queensland to Hunter Gas Pipeline project, but only if its route is located on public land to minimise disturbance to private properties.

At Monday night's ordinary meeting, the majority of councillors voted in support of the project, despite strong opposition from affected landholders.

A recent survey commissioned by the council showed 80 per cent of residents opposed the pipeline, however the response rate was just 32 per cent.

Upper Hunter mayor Maurice Collison told ACM the survey proved most local farmers didn't want the pipeline going through their land.

"So it makes sense if you've got a landholder that does wish to have it, but for those who don't our suggestion is try to go through public land," he said.

"There's two things we could have done, we could have moved down the line of absolutely objecting, but there's still more homework to be done.

"It's one of those things where you've got to listen to both sides and I'd imagine there would be more community consultation with both sides before this gets anywhere near starting."

PIPELINE ISSUE: Upper Hunter mayor Maurice Collison, a grazier in in Woolooma, voted to support the pipeline, on the premise it does not infringe on agricultural lands. Photo: File

PIPELINE ISSUE: Upper Hunter mayor Maurice Collison, a grazier in in Woolooma, voted to support the pipeline, on the premise it does not infringe on agricultural lands. Photo: File

The original recommendation gave councillors two options: to note the survey results and consider opposing the project or to note the survey results and not adopt a position.

Councillors Sue Abbott and Kiwa Fisher attempted to move an amended recommendation opposing the project due to its environmental impacts and in line with the majority of landholder's stances.

However, councillors Collison, Lorna Driscoll, James Burns and Ron Campbell voted against the motion, and it was lost.

A new motion was put forward, that council support the pipeline project with the proviso that the pipeline be located on public land to minimise private land disturbance. The motion was passed.

Councillors Collison, Burns, Campbell and Driscoll voted for and councillors Abbott, Watts and Fisher voted against.

The move comes after Liverpool Plains Shire Council moved to advocate for the pipeline to be rerouted onto stock routes and public land wherever possible last year.

The pipeline was granted development approval by the Minister for Planning in 2009 subject to conditions of consent.

This story Upper Hunter Shire votes to support Hunter Gas Pipeline first appeared on Hunter Valley News.