The largest voluntary planning agreement (VPA) ever entered into by the Narrabri Shire Council has officially been ratified between the Council and Santos.
The $14.5 million Santos VPA means the Narrabri community will significantly benefit from Santos’ operations in the region, with the agreement delivering a range of key infrastructure upgrades in the town and surrounding area.
Santos Managing Director and CEO, Kevin Gallagher, said officially entering into the partnership with Narrabri Shire Council demonstrates Santos’ commitment to the region.
“Santos have been committed to Narrabri for many years now and while the VPA has been discussed for some time, I’m pleased that Council took the final steps needed to formalise the partnership at the end of last year,” Mr Gallagher said.
“Narrabri is an exciting place to be at the moment, with the potential for more jobs and more opportunities in the future linked to Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project.
“Importantly, for the community, the VPA will ensure that come final investment decision on the Narrabri Gas Project, the redevelopment of the Narrabri Airport Terminal, works on the Narrabri Tourism and Cultural Precinct, Narrabri CBD master plan upgrades, Narrabri Library relocation, and Country Universities Centre expansion, will go ahead.”
Narrabri Shire Council Mayor, Ron Campbell, said he is pleased the VPA agreement is complete.
“The negotiation and execution of the VPA has been a long journey for our Shire, formally commencing in 2020,” Mayor Campbell said.
“The $14.5 million VPA is a wonderful injection into our community and will provide funding for projects that will capitalise on the Shire’s future growth, benefiting generations to come.
“We thank Santos for their contribution and look forward to their continuing positive involvement in our community.”
Narrabri Shire Council has already received $2 million of the VPA from Santos to commence stage one of the Tourism and Cultural Precinct.
The ratification of the VPA comes as the Santos Festival of Rugby once again arrives in Narrabri, bringing with it an economic impact of almost $1 million through direct and indirect spend.
“Santos is proud to deliver this event – we work in partnership with Queensland Reds and New South Wales Waratahs as well as Council, local businesses, local rugby clubs and the community to bring the Festival to the people of Narrabri and surrounding regions,” Mr Gallagher said.
“This year, in a first for the festival, the Reds and Waratahs Super W teams will go head-to-head before the men’s match, adding to the great state rivalry and reaffirming Santos’ support for women’s sport.
“We’re proud of what we are delivering here with the Santos Festival of Rugby, for the community, for rugby union, and for the economy. In our third annual celebration of rugby – the second to be held in Narrabri – the multi-day festival is expected to once again draw thousands of spectators to Dangar Park.”
More than 3,600 people attended the 2021 Santos Festival of Rugby in Narrabri, with local accommodation at capacity. Those numbers are expected to be beaten this year with strong ticket sales so far.
Economic modelling from the inaugural event in Narrabri in 2021 shows the event contributed more than $375,000 in indirect spend to the town, with another $375,000 spent on local suppliers for field works and festival-related products and services and an additional $200,000 on infrastructure upgrades.
The Santos Festival of Rugby is on this Friday and Saturday at the Narrabri Blue Boars Rugby Club, Dangar Park, Narrabri. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.santos.com/festival-of-rugby/.