Santos chief executive and general manager Kevin Gallagher confirmed on a visit to Narrabri last week that Santos would play a major role in ‘a bright future’ for Narrabri shire.

The Narrabri gas project would bring local jobs and business opportunities. Santos workers would not be ‘fly-in, fly out’ – they would live in the community, he said.

“Santos will be working with Narrabri Shire Council to encourage new gas-using industries. And we will be working with local businesses and contractors to ensure they have the processes and procedures in place to ensure they get a piece of the work we will bring to the area,” Mr Gallagher said.

“We are committed to buying locally, and employing locally.”

Santos chief executive and managing director Kevin Gallagher and senior executives met the Santos Narrabri team on Wednesday to discuss the next steps in the Narrabri gas project and to say ‘thanks’ to community supporters of the project.

“I want to say a big thank you to the entire Narrabri community for your support over the last nine years,” Mr Gallagher said.

“We could not have done it without you.

“I thought the Prime Minister wrapped it up pretty well when he said that with the recent rains and the IPC’s decision, Narrabri’s future is looking a lot brighter than it has looked for some time.

“We will be building a better future for Narrabri as well.

“That future that means local jobs – not just any job, but skilled, secure and well-paying jobs,” Mr Gallagher said.

“And a future that means local business opportunities – we are already buying locally, spending $2 million last year alone on local goods and services.

“Santos already employs 16 people who live and work locally – and who are an important part of the local community.

“One of the things I am passionate about is that all our operations people will live and work locally throughout the project – they will not be FIFO workers.

“We want to be part of the fabric of the Narrabri community – good corporate neighbours and contributors.

“We want to provide jobs that mean local kids from Narrabri don’t have to move to the city or interstate – away from their families – to find good
career opportunities.

“And we want to help local Narrabri businesses thrive and grow, just as we have seen them do in Roma in Queensland, where in 2018, Santos spent over $130 million on local goods, services, wages, community investments, payments to landholders and local councils,” Mr Gallagher said.

“As part of our commitment to the community, I am very pleased that Santos has entered into a $14.5 million Voluntary Planning Agreement with the Narrabri Shire Council which will deliver:
• Improved infrastructure at the Narrabri Airport
• More maintenance for local roads
• Further development of the Narrabri sports and tourism precinct
• Library relocation to allow the expansion of the Country University Centre
• And many other valuable community initiatives.

“We will also work with Narrabri Shire Council to encourage new gas-using industries to locate in Narrabri, bringing even more jobs and business opportunities.

“In the end the science confirmed that the project is in the public interest and capable of development without harm to water resources or the environment,” Mr Gallagher said.

“While we await the federal approvals, we’re going to get on with some work immediately,” Mr Gallagher said.

“There are a number of activities that we’ll start before the end of this year including extending Santos’
apprentice and trainee program to include young people from the Narrabri area, a workover drilling program to undertake maintenance of our existing wells and a contractor engagement forum to identify opportunities for local businesses over the next year or so.

“As required by our IPC approval there are a number of committees involving community members and technical experts that we will need to establish before the end of the year as well.

“Following all of these requirements being met, we will then commence a 12 to 18-month appraisal process.

“And we will be working with local businesses and contractors to ensure they have the processes and procedures in place to ensure they get a piece of the work we will bring to the area.

“We are committed to buying locally just as we are to employing locally.

“Customers are lining up to buy Narrabri gas and we already have Memorandums Of Understanding with Perdaman, Brickworks and Weston Energy.

“With gas as the enabler and as the Inland Rail project continues to develop, there are incredible opportunities for jobs, economic investment and regional development in Narrabri.”

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