Regional Community Spotlight: Dalby, Queensland
The natural gas industry is embedded within regional communities across Australia. These articles will profile some regional communities that have has long-standing relationships with the natural gas industry.
- Key towns to the industry: Roma, Dalby, Miles, Chinchilla
- Number of businesses directly supported by the gas industry: 727
- Value added by the industry: 8,736.6 ($M)
- Average total employees residing in the area: 7,090
- The industry directly supports 152 community organisations in Maranoa
Located in the regional Queensland, Dalby is one community that has reaped the benefits of the onshore gas industry’s presence in the area.
With the introduction of the natural gas industry to Queensland over 10 years ago, Dalby – along with other towns in the area like Toowoomba, Miles and Roma – formed a hub that would directly benefit from economic growth.
The Western Downs Regional Council have dubbed Dalby one of the towns that make up the “energy capital of Queensland” with a population of 12,719 and growing.
According to the University of Queensland’s Boomtown indicators charting tool, the average personal income increased from approximately $35,000 p/a in 2000 to over $60,000 p/a from 2012.
Since 2011-12, average local business income has quadrupled to over $30 million. Employment and wages have increased too, with unemployment well below Queensland average and total household earnings $50 million higher per annum than in 2008-09.
This was a direct correlation with the introduction of the new onshore gas projects in the area.
The main gas companies in the area include Arrow Energy, Senex and Santos. All three operate in the Surat Basin region and are regularly engage with communities and local businesses in the area, with Arrow Energy also setting up an office in Dalby. It is also home to the Darling Downs Power Station, running on gas from reserves in the Surat Basin.
However, the natural gas industry is just one of the energy sectors that has been attracted to Dalby. In addition to traditional energy sectors such as mining, the renewable energy sector is being attracted to Dalby and the broader region. Legacy infrastructure from the sector has provided an ideal network for renewable energy projects. For example, a $500 million investment on the North West Surat project by APLNG and Santos established 7 substations 227km transmission lines, 565 towers and 77,500 insulators. You can read more about legacy infrastructure here.
The Dalby Bio-Refinery is Australia’s first grain-to-ethanol facility and in 2019, the APA Group’s 110MW Darling Downs Solar Farm was officially opened. This solar farm has approximately 430,000 solar panels, connecting into the Braemar Substation.
Some of the community initiatives:
- Community investment programs which include community funding grants
- Arrow Energy’s Brisbane Bronco Day
- Heart of Australia mobile clinic, Australia’s first mobile cardiology and respiratory clinic. Arrow Energy is a foundation partner and Dalby is one of the stops on the trucks.
Meet the local supply chain: Stonestreets
In February last year, Brighter profiled Stonestreets, a bus company which has grown from their initial contracts with the natural gas industry. Read more here.
Meet the people: Rita Hassan, Community Relations, Arrow Energy
Rita works in Community Relations in Dalby. Learn more about Rita’s work here.Explore
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