Here is the February 2017 Newsletter for your information, please circulate this to your fellow councillors and senior staff so they can appreciate and understand the excellent work the Association and you are doing on behalf of your council and community with regard to mining related matters.
Busy Time for AMRC Delegates
Delegates, we hope you are enjoying your role as a Councillor or Senior staff member whilst undertaking the ardous tasks of reviewing your Community Strategic Plans, meeting with your constituents, engaging with them and seeking their views on what they expect from your Council for your Delivery Program and Resources Strategy plus undertake your normal roles! Phew, there is a lot on for everyone. “You only get out what you put in” I heard someone say the other day, keep up the good work and the results will come.
Community Strategic Plan, Delivery Program and Resourcing Strategy
Don’t forget to ensure your participation in the Association of Mining Related Councils as a delegate is part of your Delivery Program four year plan actions, to ensure you can represent and advocate on behalf of your communities at the highest level – with NSW Minerals Council, State Ministers, Shadow Ministers and their Executive staff and other important stakeholders already on our agenda to meet and outline what we are about this year.
Expanding the Association
With new delegates, the setting up of working parties on the VPA, the Strategic Plan Review, meetings to be set up with Premier, Deputy Premier, Ministers, Shadow Ministers, Opposition leaders, leaders of minority parties, etc plus the enthusiastic input by delegates the whole ‘mojo” of ARMRC is reaching new levels.
There has been increased interest out there in the state of NSW for Councils to join our Association as mining and renewable energy projects emerge in their Local Government areas. The more members and increased coverage of the state we have in our Association, the greater the strength of our voice and the more likelihood of our communitiy issues being heard and addressed at the top tables.
If you have or hear of any interest please let the Executive Officer know for he and the Chair to chase up. There have been several councils identified to date that have attended our meetings in the past or enquired of delegates and need following up, which they will be visited in the near future.
Ordinary Meeting in Sydney 2nd March 2017
For those of you that attended the meeting in Sydney on 2nd March 2017, thank you for making the effort on a wet rainy day and a big thank you to those that sent their apologies.
Because of all the busy schedules of councils, we need your help as we still need an idea of who is attending the meeting, which affects the catering costs as you know these days are usually signed off on estimated numbers weeks before and this could be significant if the majority of Council delegates don’t attend. If you can, please have your Executive Assistants let the Executive Officer know when you can’t attend.
There is also the issue of having a quorum. Our constitution states that a quorum is more than half the number of member councils in attendance i.e. at least 11 councils to be represented is the quorum. If not present, then the meeting is deferred for an hour and after that set down at a later date and place by the Chair or the Executive deals with the business, hopefully we will never get to this. I look forward to seeing you all at future meetings for your important input and debate.
Unfortunately, the speakers invited to the meeting on 2nd March 2017, could not attend and offered their apologies – the CEO NSW Minerals Council (Steve Galiliee), the Minister for Planning and Environmental Services (the Hon Andrew Roberts) and the Minister for Resources and Energy (the Hon Don Harwin).
However we were fortunate to have the Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy and Industrial Relations, MLC Adam Searle attend in their place and spoke with delegates about Planning, Resources for Regions, Renewable Energy and Mining matters generally.
Adam acknowledged that there is a lot on the government agenda at the moment and whilst he wasn’t totally abreast of all of the issues and changes with the recent portfolio allocations, he encouraged the Assocition to pursue all political avenues to address our concerns with VPA’S, Resources for Regions, etc and to strongly advocate on behalf of councils with mining related issues particularly in light of the upcoming state bi – elections on 8th April 2017 and later in the year amalgamated council elections.
Next Meeting to be in Broken Hill 11/12th May 2017
The next Executive Committee and Ordinary meetings of AMRC is in Broken Hill on 11th/12th May 2017.
The Executive Committee will meet in the morning of 11th May 2017. A mine tour is usually organised by the host council after lunch on 11th (Cr Jim Nolan and/or General Manager James Roncon to assist), networking dinner that night with Ordinary meeting next morning on the 12th, delegates depart after lunch. Hope to see you all there, Broken Hill has a lot of mining history of national interest, should be an informative and interesting occasion.
The meeting on 2nd March 2017 at Rydges Sydney Central was attended by delegates from 11 councils with new delegates from Cessnock City Council (Cr Jay Suvaal and Cr Melanie Dagg) and Narromine Shire Council (Cr Col Hamilton), in the words of an attendee ….I have been to the last four meetings of Association and this was the best I siad why, he said because it was participative, relevant and informative. See you in Broken Hill.
Submission on SIA Guidelines presented on 3rd March 2017
Consultant Warwick Giblin of Oz Environmental assisted the Association with the preparation of our submission to Department of Planning on the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) of the Draft Guidelines for State Significant Mining, Petroleum, Production and Extraction Industry development as to how it may affect your LGA.
The Association presented its submission on 3rd March 2017, commenting on the SIA proposed changes to the Guidelines and this will be forwarded sepaerately by email for your information and posted on the DPE and AMRC websites.
The documents referred to can be accessed by going to the Department of Planning and Environment website:-http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au and look at legislative updates, consultation periods, topics and submission dates, etc.
The LGNSW submission on the same topic has been provided to the Association this will also be forwarded under a seperate email.
Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)
The next meeting of the VPAWP has been put on hold until meetings with the Chairs of NSW Minerals Council and AMRC and Executive Officers and Working Party are held to discuss differences in the negotiations on the VPA plus working closely on Resources for Regions eligibility criteria.
There is still more to do with a cents per tonne model by the AMRC versus the NSWMC worker domicile model and clarity on the use of IPART as an umpire, when are they involved, who pays and the legal substance of the documents, which needs to be agreed to by the parties and to fit in with with NSW State Government changes, so busy times ahead getting this sorted.
Resources for Regions Advisory Group (RFRAG)
At the meeting in Sydney of RFRAG on 23rd January 2017, the DPE staff presented the proposed changes to the EPA Act 1979 and documents on exhibition. Clr Hasler has raised questions for the DPE staff to answer in due course on the Social Impact Assessment Draft Guidelines and State Significant Developments, in relation to the following key issues:- more and meaningful consultation on proposals, a requirement on major developers to liaise with community and councils, the content of the documentation being more prescriptive, for the developer to demonstrate how they have consulted and finally with the DPE to lead the consultation process for transparency purposes.
The EIS is usually a very large document and absorbs a lot of a council’s resources to assess without compensation. This is a key point in the submission to DPE on new VPA Policy proposals submitted on 3rd March 2017.
Clr Hasler will no doubt keep us informed when his responses are received and he reports to delegates after their meeting on 16th. Any documentation referred to Executive Officer by Clr Hasler will be forwarded to delegates in due course on these matters.
The DPE have extended submissions on the EPA Act changes until end of March 2017.
The website is a work in progress and the focus will be about getting more relevant information on the site such as minutes, submissions, etc. Changes to delegates has been rectified and if there are any other discrepancies or ideas on its format please contact the Executive Officer who will organise to adjust the details and consider all options.
Photographs will be changed as they evolve such as a photo of chair Shinton and Deputy Chair Connor with Shadow Minister Adam Searle at the meeting on 2nd March 2017.
Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020
A working party has been established to review the 2013 – 2016 Strategic Framework.
The chair and convener will be AMRC Deputy Chair Coal Cr Chris Connor, the members of the working party appointed on 2nd March 2017 are:-
- Cr Melanie Dagg, Cessnock City Council
- Cr Michael Banasik, Wollondilly Shire Council
- Cr James Nolan, Broken Hill City Council
- Glen Wilcox, Lachlan Shire Council
- Jason Linnane, Singleton Shire Council
Cr Connor will be in contact by electronic means with working party members in due course.
A lot of preliminary information was presented to the Executive Committee on 1st March 2017 by the Executive Officer to assist the working party. A draft will be presented to the August Ordinary meeting in Sydney.
Related Matters of Interest
Coal Seam Gas:
Santos have submitted its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Narrabri Gas Project to the state government for assessment. A community information session is to be held in Narrabri at the Crossing Theatre on Thursday 16th March 2017, 2pm – 7pm for members of the community to ask questions of technical experts present on drilling, geology, field operations,environment and water. Further information on the EIS can be found on the following websites:-
(Source : Advertisment in The Courier, Narrabri and DPE website)
New Mine to open east of Armidale
It was reported in the Northern Daily Leader on 3rd March 2017 that a new underground antimony mine 23 kilometres east of Armidale at Clark’s Gully on the Waterfall Way has gained conditional approval from Armidale Regional Council .(Refer www.northerndailyleader.com.au)
Greens Coal Ban Plan
It has been reported in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on 3rd March that the Greens are planning to scrap NSW’S $25 billion coal industry with a new policy focussing on de -licensing thermal coal operators. The Greens say the policy is necessary to address climate change. The Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Don Harwin indicated that the proposals would threaten energy security whilst the NSW Minerals Council CEO, Steve Gailiiee responded that it was a recipe for disaster and NSW could not afford to lose jobs and lights out across the state. Interesting times ahead.(Refer www.dailytelegraph.com.au)
Shenhua Exploration Licence in doubt
Shenhua requested in 2016 to be exempted from having to meet the extension to their exploration licence in the Breeza region near Gunnedah and Quirindi, which expired in October 2016. Minister for Resources and Energy is being asked for an update on its status by the Caroona Coal Action Group. The headlines in the local press are casting doubts on the mine getting the go ahead for the coal mine proposed for the Liverpool Plains. (Refer Namoi Valley Independent website for details on article on 2nd March 2017 on www.nvi.com.au)
Moree Solar Farm
Moree Solar Farm was officially inaugurated in Moree on Friday 3rd March 2017 after construction commenced on the 56 megawatt facility. It features 222,880 solar PV panels which can generate 145GWh on energy annually. It is expected to supply enough energy to power more than 24,000 Australian households annually. Further details can be obtained form Moree Plains Shire Council or Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).(Refer details Nortern Daily Leader 4th March 2017 on www.norterndailyleader.com.au)
If you have any queries in relation to this newsletter please do not hesitate to contact the Chair or the Executive Officer to see how we can assist you in your busy role as a Council delegate to the Association of Mining Related Councils.Our contacts are:-
Chair, Clr Peter Shinton, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at Council on 02 68492000.
Greg Lamont – Executive Officer
Clr Peter Shinton – Chair