AGL fined over political dontations

AGL Energy and its subsidiary AGL Upstream have been fined $124,000 in the Land and Environment Court for failing to disclose political donations when making planning applications.

The applications include the Newcastle gas storage facility.

The judgement is a result of a prosecution brought by the Department of Planning and Environment after a compliance investigation was undertaken following complaints from community groups.

This is the largest total penalty imposed since the provisions were introduced in 2008.

AGL Energy was fined $112,000 and AGL Upstream $12,000. In addition to the fine, the companies have been ordered to pay the department’s legal costs.

AGL Energy pleaded guilty to 10 charges and AGL upstream pleaded guilty to one offence of failure to disclose political donations under section 147 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The charges related to AGL’s coal seam gas projects in Gloucester and Camden; the Newcastle Gas Storage Facility; the Broken Hill solar plant and the Dalton Power Station.

General counsel for the Department of Planning and Environment James Hebron said the company cooperated with the Department’s compliance investigation.

“Under planning legislation there is an obligation on a proponent when making a planning application to report political donations” Mr Hebron said.

“This is to ensure transparency in the planning process.”

The 1.5 petajoule tank was commissioned in May 2015.  

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