NEW Upper Hunter MP David Layzell has tweaked his stance on 'zombie' petroleum exploration licences (PELs), no longer remaining adamant he wants to see them all extinguished.
The PELs have lain dormant for years, but received renewed interest following the approval of Santos' Narrabri Gas Project.
It was a matter Mr Layzell was quite strong on during the campaign, stating he would fight to make sure all the PELs were quashed, and he would make that clear to NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro, who has committed to assessing them all.
But that stance seems to have softened since his election. On Thursday he said the government would now look at removing the PELs that have "no chance of actually being used".
He also claimed taxpayers would rather see their money used on community projects, as opposed to extinguishing PELs outright.
He is also quickly learning it takes more than a "click of the fingers" to secure funding for projects, but said he is committed to increasing investment and growth in the Liverpool Plains.
Having been sworn in to the 57th parliament of NSW on June 8, the former construction manager is still learning the ropes, but has little time to find his feet with the next election less than two years away.
As a result, he is looking to make an immediate impact on a number of issues and Quirindi is a town which has captured his imagination.
He admitted to being a major admirer of the silo art project and said it was his intention to quickly secure funding, believing it could add to the region's appeal.
Growing the area's population is one of the more long-term goals of the new MP, but one he said was a major priority after seeing the amount of ingenuity that was on show in the Liverpool Plains.
"I'd like to now sit down with businesses and have more time to look at how we can get more jobs in that region, and more families moving up there," he said.
"I've met with the mayor and the local council and heard some of their ideas about limitations for growth, and that's what I'm looking at, how the state government can help that region grow in terms of industries.
"Because if we have industry we need people, if we have people then it creates other industries in the town that strengthens the town and strengthens the community."
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