MERC NEWSLETTER – January 2018

Introduction

Delegates, here is the January 2018 Newsletter with a new name and acronym.What is best AMERC or MERC (staying with MERC at the moment), up for discussion, but no logo as yet…. it’s on the way.

This newsletter has a lot of important information in it for you to read, 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 and energy related matters.

Next Meetings in Sydney 22/23rd February 2018

The February Ordinary meeting will be at NSW Parliament House, Jubilee Room, anticipated to commence from 9.00am on 23rd February 2018, sponsored by the Hon Rick Colless, Member Legislative Council, Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources and Western NSW. He is also the Chair Western Mining Taskforce and he will address delegates on where the Western Mining Taskforce is up to now they have reformed.

Delegates will need to be there sufficiently early to enable screening on entry to occur. The meeting will be preceded by a Special General Meeting to adopt the Association’s Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2020, logo and constitution with the Executive Committee to meet the afternoon before at 2.00pm, hopefully it will also be at Parliament House, in the McKellar Room, waiting on confirmation. In addition to Rick Colless, the Minister for Energy and Resources, the Hon Don Harwin looks likely to be a speaker on 23rd February 2017, however still waiting on Minister’s confirmation.

Felicity Greenway and Katharine Hole from Department Planning & Environment will be addressing delegates on the renewable energy policies and inititives of the state government as per the Associations resolution at its November meeting in 2017.

Attendance at Next meeting 23RD February 2018

Just a regular reminder to delegates we always need to guarantee we have a Quorum for the Special General Meeting and Ordinary Meetings on 23rd February 2018. Therefore your presence is recommended.

The meetings will commence at 9.00am in NSW Parliament House, Jubilee Room (to the right as you enter the building). Your advice on who is attending from your Council, as soon as possible to the Executive Officer by email would be appreciated to ensure we have a qurum and for catering purposes. Currently, the Association has 19 members so that means half plus one for a quorum. Agendas will be out about ten days before the meetings in the week beginning 13th February 2018 as per constitution.

Update on the Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

A meeting was held in Sydney on 15th December 2017 with M/s Alison Frame, M/s Felicity Greenway and Mr Stephen Barry from Department Planning and Environment and our own Chair Clr Peter Shinton, Clr Owen Hasler and the Executive Officer, to discuss progress with the Joint VPAWP. Delegates provided the senior staff of the DPE with an informative update outlining areas that were agreed and not agreed by the parties in the Joint VPAWP and the arguments to them.

The DPE are keen to capture the information agreed by the respective parties and include it in the Guidelines on VPA’S as a Practice Note or similar, but needed to think about how they were going to deal with the task given the opposed arguments and political sensitivities. The DPE would consider two separate close out reports as an option and engage a contractor to assist with putting them together and then get back to the Association in the New Year and what they would like to do with this given both parties have invested a considerable amount of time and money in the project.

The General Manager, Lachlan Shire Council, Mr Robert Hunt, has kindly forwarded a reply his Council received in response to their letter to the Minister on VPA’s as per the Association’s request to delegates in 2017, which confirms our discussions with the DPE as follows, penned by Alison Frame on behalf of the Minister:

Thank you for making the NSW Government aware of Lachlan Council’s recent resolution to support the Association’s preferred model for calculating the quantum payable under a VPA. To help record and preserve progress achieved to date on this matter, the Department has offered to work with both parties to prepare a formal joint report on the outcomes of the negotiations. This would note the areas of agreement and include options for resolving any areas of disagreement. We will be in touch with the AMRC shortly to progress this report.

Andrew Barry, DPE on behalf of Alison Frame has recently emailed the Chair and has advised that they have identified a contractor to assist in the preparation of a report of the outcomes of the VPA negotiations between MERC and NSW Minerals Council  in relation to Voluntary Planning Agreements. The report will document where those negotiations progressed to, how the parties propose to take the work forward and any other agreed next steps. Andrew has submitted terms of reference and the timeframe is to have the rpeoprt from the contractor completed by end of March 2018 and is seeking comments from the Working Party about the path and contractor chosen.

Clr Hasler, Steve Loane and the Executive Officer make up the current VPA Working Party and will consider the content of the Scope of Works in consultation with the Chair and Executive Committee, as required. The number one priority is to meet with the contractor as soon as possible to put our case on the table. More later at the 22nd and 23rd February meetings for an update.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP) & Resources for Regions

The NSW Government will be calling for more applications for Resources for Regions round two later in 2018, given the recent announcements and promotions by the State Government and Minister Barilaro. Go to www.nsw.gov.au/regionalgrowth or call 1300679673 for details. The Executive Officer as the delegate for the Association has been informed next RIAP meeting in Sydney on 1st March 2018, there is no Agenda as yet and the execrise will be to consider the shortlisted applications from 2017’s call for submissions. There is $50m on the table for assessment. 

Website

The Executive Officer has forwarded a brief seeking a price from our existing provider to undertake the task of modernising the webpages (after canvassing Councils), for consideration by Executive Committee at their meeting on 22nd February 2018 on what pages do they want left in, etc. As you can see from the website there is a lot of changes to be done and the presentation modernised. The addition of new Stregic Plan, Logo amended constitution will be part of the exercise.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

The Draft Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 will be presented to the Special General Meeting in Sydney on 23rd February 2018. The name of the Association has changed to ”Association of Mining and Energy Related Councils (NSW) Incorporated” (MERC or AMERC?). Department of Fair Trading has registered our new name and provided a certificate of Incorporation.

The Strategic Plan has been re worked/formatted by the Chair and members of the working Party and along with a new logo this will be adopted on 23rd February 2018.

Wollongong City Council Marketing department have been engaged to do the design of a new logo for the Executive to consider, to compliment the Strategic direction and name change of the Association. They will provide three options to the Executive which will be presented to delegates at the Special General Meeting on 23rd February 2017.

Constitution Review

Changes to the Constitution for name changes, details in clauses therein relating to “mining and energy related” matters, representation, voting policy/procedures and minor typographicals were adopted in readiness for the Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 on 17th November 2017.

The Constitution has been rewritten to incorporate all of the changes made at the Special General Meeting held on 17th November 2017 and now the Department of Fair Trading want it adopted as a new document. Consequently, it will be presented to the Special General Meeting on 23rd February 2017. The changes are now reflected in the Document Controlled Appendix attached to the Constitution.

Next Meetings of Association for 2018

The Association has its next meeting in Sydney at Parliament House on 23rd February 2018 then Cobar in May 2018, with the August date yet to be confirmed (however we will work around the Country Mayors dates) and try for the same venue when in Sydney in future, then we have another regional meeting in the Upper Lachlan Shire in November when its warmer!.

The Executive will decide on the date for the May 2018 meeting. Cobar Shire Council has now indicated that 10/11th May 2018 would suit their Council as they have a race meeting on 12th May 2018 sponsored by the Council, which is a good opportunity to showcase the Shire with MERC delegates in town.

There are member Councils that may have Council meetings that week plus presenters to arrange and the travel arrangements to get to/from Cobar are all things to be considered by the Executive Committee. Note there are no flights into Cobar at the moment, this may change in the future in view of current negotiations by Cobar Shire Council with a potential airline service provider. Delegates can fly to Dubbo from Sydney and hire a vehicle and drive out or simply drive out. Dubbo may have a service via Newcastle by then if not now.

Membership Campaign

Campaign update – Dubbo have now written to the Executive Officer and have agreed to join the Association and not waiting until the construction of the mine commences as first indicated. Delegates from Dubbo are to be Mayor (Clr Ben Shields who is a member of LGNSW) and General Manager (Mr Michael McMahon). Forbes have also now joined and paid membership fees.

Warren Shire Council have resolved to send their Mayor (Cr Rex Wilson) and General Manager (Glen Wilcox, Life Member of the Association) to our next meeting as observers and then to report back to their Council on whether to join the Association or not. They have a very large solar farm development proposed for construction at Nevertire on Mitchell Highway, near Warren.

In discussions with prominent people in Local Government, the critical point of difference and selling points of our Association are that the Association is specific on its issues; has seen there is a need to be the voice for renewable energy for Councils; is not hampered by getting involved with broader whole of state matters; has a seat at the table; its advice is sought by the government; we have experienced delegates on government working groups representing the members voices; we are not political and don’t have any collaborative problems within our group of dedicated delegates!

Why wouldn’t a Council join or or why would they leave, you have to ask the question are they truly representing their constituents under the Local Government Act when mining and renewable energy issues are affecting their communities, are the legislated planning processes adequate to do this? 

DPE Documents on Exhibition

The Association resolved at the November Meeting to prepare the following submissions to the DPE on their documents which are now on exhibition by 16th February 2018, as follows:

  • Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy;
  • Review the amendments to the Environment & Assessment Act 1979;
  • Examine Lisa Corbyn’s Independent Review Assessment Report.

The Association has engaged Warwick Giblin to prepare Drafts for these, plus do further submissions on the other documents also on exhibition such as the Guidelines for Large Scale Solar Farms and the discussion paper on Mine Rehabilitation in NSW, given their relevance and importance to the Association’s members and objects.

Input has been sought from member Councils such as Singleton, Cabonne and Mid Western who have had experience in these areas. The Executive Officer will work with Warwick on them and liaise with the Executive for input prior to sending the submissions in and when lodged copies will be forwarded to all member Councils for their information.

Related Matters of Interest – Mining and Energy Issues in the Press

“The Australian Mining Review”  A complimentary copy of the January 2018 publication has been received by the Executive Officer and is available for an annual subcription of $120 plus GST for a hard copy. It is very informative on not just mining but energy related issues from a national perspective and a worthy read. Interestingly, there is an article in it outlining the ironic fact that miners are using renewable energy options to lower their own costs by up to 30%.

Also in another mining article the paper outlines 8 major mining projects in Australia in 2018 of which two of them are in NSW:

  • The Syerston Project (CleanTeq), CAPEX of $US680M, 2.5mtpa open pit project to produce nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate for the lithium – ion battery market, with a mine life 20 years initially;
  • The Woodlawn Project (Heron Resources), CAPEX of $156m, 1.5mtpa Zinc Copper, mine life of about 10 years initially.

It also has “The Australian Energy Review” inside the paper, talking about what is happening nationally on Oil, Gas, Electricity and Renewables in about 30 pages. One major feature is on what happens after Liddell closes in the Hunter Valley and AGL Energy have put a NSW Generation Plan on the table where “old power plants can be replaced with a mixtrure of new, cleaner technology, wjhile improving relaibility and affordability” It will generate 1600MW from renewables, 500MW from a new Gas Power Plant, 250MW from battery storgae on the Liddell site and will look at the feasibility of a pumped hydro project in the Hunter Valley in conjunction with NSW Government and to stage the developments to avaoid a gap in power generation. More details on the AGL Energy website. Author of article in the Australina Energy Review was Cameron Drummond cam@miningoilgas.

The publication is available in hard and digital formats. Enquiries to brad@ miningoilgas.com.au or phone 08 63140303 for a 12 month hard copy subcription to the Australian Mining Review if interested. Only downside is there are a lot of advertisements in the publication and it has a WA bias.

Why not ring and get a complimentary copy and make your own mind up.

“ Lismore Floating Solar Farm”. Lismore City Council has developed a floating solar farm on the East Lismore Sewerage Plant ponds using funds lent by 20 community members as shareholders in the porject, estimated to generate $24,000 pa in income in providing power to local community members “off the grid”. Project was supported by the Department of Planning. Refer Council’s webpage and the Departments’ planning.nsw.gov.au sites.

Gunnedah Focus of Solar Proposals”   Vanessa Hohnke in The Northern Daily Leader on 30th January reports that “Gunnedah has become a hot spot for proposed solar farms. Orange Grove Sun Farm has jolined Photon Energy in submitting an application to DPE for a solar farm. The  CAPEX is estimated to be $80m for the 110 Mega Watt farm, 80 jobs during construction and three fulltime when built”. Noticed also another solar farm is proposed for Wee Waa in the Narrabri Shire Council area. Details are in northerdailyleader.com.au

“The Five Renewabale Energy Predictions for the Year”  Cole Latimer in the Sydney Morning Herald  January 18Th 2018 edition in providing a Global Outlook for Australia and predicted that solar power, batteries and electric vehicles will be the big stories of 2018. He said “that’s the view of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysts outlining the big factors that will be leading the sustainable energy transition. They are listed as Clean Energy, Solar Power, Wind Power, Batteries and Electric Cars”.

There is a lot of valuable data in the article showing the investment potential of all. Reference in the article was made to a new cost-analysis report entitled “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017” by the International Renewable Energy Agency, that forecasts the global costs for onshore wind and solar to fall significantly, having already dropped 25 per cent since 2010. More details are available on smh.com.au site.

“MP Gets a Black Mark on Outages” The Sydney Morning Hereald on 9th January 2018 reported (Danielle Le Messurier and Sam McBeath) that Energy Minister Don Harwin has infuriated thousands of residents hit by blackouts on Sydney’s hottest day in 80 years by claiming the outages were just “par for the course”.

Ausgrid, the electricty retailer which left homes sweletering without power for hours despite raking in huge profits from skyrocketing bills, had a similar blunt message, saying it would cost too much to deliver power to “100per cent of customers 100 per cent of the time”. There were 42 major outages across the Ausgrid network on Sunday, leaving 31000 customers to melt as mercury soared into the mid 40’s, mainly on the Central Coast, the article said. Endeavour Energy had interuptions to 7400 homes in Penrith area. Refer to smh.com.au for further details.

Contact

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 peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 68492000 or the Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.au or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636.

Greg Lamont – Executive Officer

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

MERC NEWSLETTER – 22nd December 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the December 2017 Newsletter with a new name but no logo as yet,  however it has a lot of important information in it for you to read, 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 and energy related matters. It is basically an update on the decisions made at the November meeting with Christmas wishes after a long but progressive year for the Association.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a very prosperous and Happy New Year!!!!

Next Meetings in Sydney 22/23rd February 2018

The February Ordinary meeting will be at NSW Parliament House, Jubilee Room, anticipated to commence from 9.00am on 23rd February 2018, sponsored by the Hon Rick Colless, Member Legislative Council, Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources and Western NSW. He is also the Chair Western Mining Taskforce after their recent meeting in the west on 17th November 2017 his address will update delegates where the Western Mining Taskforce is up to now they have reformed.

Delegates will need to be there sufficiently early to enable screening to occur. The meeting will be preceded by a Special General Meeting to adopt the Association’s Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2020 with the Executive Committee to meet the afternoon before at 1.00pm, hopefully it will also be at Parliament House as well, waiting on confirmation. In addition to Rick Colless, the Minister for Energy and Resources, the Hon Don Harwin looks likely to be a speaker on 23rd February 2017 along with Department Planning and Environment senior staff and/or other invited speakers on relevant topics, waiting on confirmation.

Update on the Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

A meeting was held in Sydney on 15th December 2017 with M/s Alison Frame, M/s Felicity Greenway and Mr Stephen Barry from Department Planning and Environment and our own Chair Clr Peter Shinton, Clr Owen Hasler and the Executive Officer, to discuss progress with the Joint VPAWP. Delegates provided the senior staff of the DPE with an informative update outlining areas that were agreed and not agreed by the parties in the Joint VPAWP and the arguments to them.

The DPE are keen to capture the information agreed by the respective parties and include it in the Guidelines on VPA’S as a Practice Note, but needed to think about how they were going to deal with the task given the opposed arguments and political sensitivities. Would consider two separate close out reports as an option and get back to the Association in the New Year and what they would like to do with this given parties have invested a considerable amount of time and money.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP) & Resources for Regions

The NSW Government will be calling for more applications for Resources for Regions round two in 2018, given the recent announcements and promotions by the State Government and Minister Barilaro. The Office of Regional Development has announced who received the first Stronger Country Communities project grants and details of the Regional Growth Fund with the various programs and eligibility criteria are out. Go to www.nsw.gov.au/regionalgrowth or call 1300679673 for details. A few member Councils were successful. Get your grant officers onto these straight away and urge them to follow the Guidelines strictly. “‘Maybe” projects will not get funded!

Website

The Executive Officer has been talking with various proponents for the webpage re design, if your Council has an IT department that would be interested in talking with the Executive Officer about the project, please encourage them to do so.

Financials forwarded to Department Fair Trading (DFT)

The Executive Officer has lodged the 2016/2017 Financials with the DFT, fees have been paid and the signed financials have been forwarded to Roberts and Morrow, who recently reported that the Association had no issues and was operating satisfactorily.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

The Draft Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 will be presented to the Special General Meeting in Sydney on 23rd February 2018. The name of the Association has changed to ”Association of Mining and Energy Related Councils (NSW) Incorporated” (MERC) and the document will be re formatted and hopefully a new logo can be adopted on 23rd February 2018 to accompany the plan. Department of Fair Trading has registered our new name and provided a new certificate of Incorporation.

Wollongong City Council Marketing department are providing a quote for the design of a new logo for the Executive Officer to consider after discussions with Clr Connor and Ron Zwicker to compliment the Strategic direction and name change of the Association. This will be presented to the Special General Meeting on 23rd February 2017.

Constitution Review

Changes to the Constitution for name changes, details in clauses therein relating to “mining and energy related” matters and minor typographicals were adopted in readiness for the Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 on 17th November 2017. The Association has also resolved that a Treasurer function was not warranted at this stage. It was further agreed that the amended constitution will be document controlled.

With the legal interpretation on proposed changes to Clause 4.6 Representation received from Zucker Legal, this Clause was changed to reflect the roles on delegates and the requirement to follow the Model Code of Conduct for NSW Local Government. Previously, the constitution said a delegate cannot be nominated by a member council if he/she has any association, commercial agreement or contract with a mining company. It now will read:

Any delegate appointed, will be bound by the model Code of Conduct for Local Government in NSW”

It was also agreed that Clause 14.6. in the Constitution is re worded to improve the clarity, the inclusion of only the preferentail voting system to be used for the election of the Executive Committee, plus resumes can be submitted with a nomination for any position which must be seconded by the time of the election. All to be part of the Association’s Election Policy statement.

These changes to the constitution have been submitted to the Department of Fair Trading and annual fees paid. When the constitution is retyped to reflect all the changes and has been approved by the DFT, it will be placed on the website.

Next Meetings of Association for 2018

The Association has its next meeting in Sydney at Parliament House on 23rd February 2018 with the August date yet to be confirmed but we will work around the Country Mayors dates and try for the same venue when in Sydney in future. As far as the regions go, the following was resolved on 17th November 2017, this will assist the membership campaign as well, so it has been repeated in the Newsletter:

  • May 2018 – Cobar Shire Council to host a regional meeting of the Association to showcase the solar farming in their Local Government Area, as a renewable energy source, and invite the Orana Regional Organisation of Councils (OROC) non – members of the Association, who are potential members of the Association, to attend and also show case their solar farming activities – date to be set by Executive Committee in conjunction with Cobar Shire Council;
  • November 2018 – Upper Lachlan Shire Council to host a regional meeting of the Association to showcase the wind farming in their Local Government Area, as a renewable energy source, and also invite those councils who are currently non – members, with wind farming projects in the region, to attend the meeting and showcase their projects – date to be set by Executive Committee in conjunction with Upper Lachlan Shire Council.

The Executive have been looking at dates for Cobar and it is likely that 3/4th May 2018 are looking good, more in the New Year.

Membership Campaign

After a passionate presentation by the Executive Officer on 14th November 2017, Forbes Shire Council has joined the Association and paid their fees already, such is their keenness -I think the new General Manager may have had a lot to do with it as has the need for them to work with a new miner in the area and neighbours who are already members of our Association for a three Council VPA. A big thank you to all who assisted. The delegates will be the new General Manager, Mr Steve Laone and Clr Phyllis Miller, a member of LGNSW board and experienced councillor.

As well, Dubbo have agreed to join the Association subject to fees being due when the miner commences construction in 2018. This request will be considered by the Executive Committee on 22nd Febraury 2018, when more details are to hand, however it is a positive move by this innovative Central Western Regional Council.

This success is unfortunately overshadowed by the withdrawal of Lithgow City Council from the Association. Fees for 2017/18 haveen be paid. Fit for the Future, delegate apathy or politics? It is important that delegates keep their colleagues informed on activities of the Association and it difficult when they don’t attend meetings to do this.

In discussions with prominent people in the industry, the critical point of difference and selling points of our Association are that the Association is specific on its issues, has seen there is a need to be the voice for renewable energy for Councils, is not hampered by getting involved with broader whole of state matters, has a seat at the table, its advice is sought by the government, we have experienced delegates on government working groups representing the members voices, we are not political and don’t have any collaborative problems within our group of dedicated delegates! Why wouldn’t a Council join or or why would they leave, you have to ask the question are they truly representing their constituents under the Local Government Act when mining and renewable energy issues are affecting their communities, are the legislated processes adequate to do this?

Subsidence Advisory NSW

Councillor Dan Thompson, Singleton Council has stood down from the Mines Subsidence Board (now Subsidence Advisory NSW) and has been replaced by Councillor Melanie Dagg, Cessnock City Council. Clr Thompson requested the support from members for motions submitted by Singleton Council at the LGNSW Conference held 5/6th December 2017 in relation to changes to the way the mines subsidence issues & fund will be managed in future. The conference supported Singleton’s motion over whelmingly! On behalf of the Association and Singleton Council, thank you for the support form members and their colleagues.

Related Matters of Interest – DPE Documents on Exhibition

The Association received an update from Clr Owen Hasler, Association delegate to the Regional Advisory Forum on several papers that DPE has on exhibition for submissions to be made on behalf of delegates and resolved as follows:

  • That the Association prepare a submission on the Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy now on exhibition until February 2018 and write to member councils suggesting they make a submission on it, if they had not already done so;
  • That the Association review the amendments to the Environment & Assessment Act 1979 and the Executive Officer and/or consultant prepare a report to delegates on any implications;
  • That the Association invite Felicity Greenway (Executive Director Resources and Industry) and/or Katharine Hole (Renewable Energy and Related Policies – DPE) to address delegates on DPE Renewable Energy Guidelines;
  • That the Executive Officer and consultant examine Lisa Corbyn’s Independent Review Assessment Report and prepare a submission on behalf of the Association.

Consequently, if any member council is undertaking a review of any of the above in (a) – (d) as part of a decision or role of staff, can you please contact the Executive Officer. There are active staff members of the Association such as several General Managers that attend our meetings and staff that are in planning roles with the knowledge and expertise to assist or provide feedback or guidance to the Executive Officer in addressing the above. Your input will be welcomed.

Discussions will also be held with Warwick Giblin, Oz Environmental consultant on the documents, as per the resolution, to ascertain the most cost effective way to do the submissions. Any thoughts from staff involved/mentioned would be appreciated.

Release of NSW Government Discussion Paper on improving mine rehabilitation”. The DPE has issued a Discussion Paper which seeks to engage industry and the community on options for improvements to the regulatory framework for the rehabilitation of major mining projects in NSW. Submissions are due by 16th February 2018. Go to www.planning.nsw.gov.au/minerehabilitation to view the discussion paper and for details.

“Release of the Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy – Public Consultation

The DPE is seeking feedback on its review of the Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy (VLAMP) and an associated amendment to the State Environmnetal Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007 (Mining SEPP). Submissions are due by 16th Febraury 2018. Go to www.planning.nsw.gov.au/VLAMPreview for the draft guidelines.

Ron Swicker, Wollongong City Council, has already provided some dot points on the EPA Act changes and will have a look at the other papers in the new year. Brief discussions were held with DPE staff at our meeting in Sydney on 15th December 2017 on the documents on exhibition. The Executive Officer and Clr Hasler have had preliminary discussions with Warwick Giblin on the submissions in preparation for our submissions in 2018, if needed.

Related Matters of Interest – Mining and Energy Issues in the Press

Wind power under – utilised

Whilst the articles on energy options have diminished in recent times albeit a headline like “Wind power under-utilised” (SMH 13TH December 2017, www.smh.com.au), by Cole Latimer caught the eye when he was talking about renewable energy and he said “the  extent of resources is massive” in his subline. He says “ Australia can lead the world in wind power, but a lack of direction in policy has hampered its growth, according to the Australian Wind Alliance………..”

NSW makes first large scale renewable energy power purchase”  Journalist Peter Hannam, SMH 8th December 2017, www.smh.com.au He says “the Berejiklian governmen has its first move into large sacle renewable energy, signing a decade plus contract to help underpin the new Dubbo Solar Hub in the state’s Central West” Nooen Australia will begin from mid 2019 and run to the end on 2030.

Contact

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 peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 6849 2000 or the Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.au or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407 937 636.

Greg Lamont –  Executive Officer       

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 31st October 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the October 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 and energy related matters.

New and Former Delegates

At the end of September and early October 2017, based on the advice received from member Councils and delegates to date of this publication, there have been some changes to delegates allocated to the Association. A big welcome to the new delegates. We look forward to meeting you at our meetings in Singleton on 17th Novemeber 2017. Still waiting on several other Councils to advise if there are any other delegate changes for the thank you letters to go out to former delegates.

New delegates are Councillor Rob Hooke (Gunnedah Shire Council), Councillor Dom Figliomeni (Wollongong City Council) and Councillor Sue Moore (Mayor, Singleton Shire Council). At Cabonne, Councillor Ian Davison (former alternate) replaces Sharon Wilcox with Councillor Ken Walker as new alternate, Director Environmental Services, Heather Nicholls is retained as the other delegate.

Next Meetings in Singleton 16/17th November 2017

The November Ordinary meeting will be at Singleton Shire Council Council Chambers, anticipated to commence from 9.30am on 17th November 2017, preceded by the Special General Meeting commencing at 9.00am (to consider changes to the constituition for the inclusion of renewable energy; the adoption of the 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan and the changes that will bring with re – naming etc; the inclusion of a Treasurer role; to consider clarification of clause 4.6 on representation in relation to local government best practice and current governance requirements plus review the Election Policy wording in the constitution).

The Annual General Meeting will follow the Special General Meeting, whereby delegates will be elected to the Executive Committee as Chair, Deputy Chairs (currently Metalliferous and Coal) and three other Committee members whereby one may be inclusive of a Treasurer, depending on decisions made at the Special General Meeting.

The Executive Committee will meet the day before at 9.00am in the Singleton Shire Council Council Chambers with the afternoon tour being replaced by valuable and informative presentations introducing a different approach, rather than a mine tour, for some variety.

What has been organised (with the kind assistance of the Singleton Shire Council General Manager and staff) is an afternoon of presentations with Q & A, by the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue, Coal and Allied and Department of Primary Industries on Innovations in mining such as their Synoptic Planning efforts (future planning/use of mining land) starting at 1.30pm until 4.00pm.

Thereafter, arrangements have been made to have a bus pick up/drop off for our networking dinner at 130 Adams Peak Rd, Broke (Mt Broke Wines and Restaurant) in the vineyards area on Thursday night, south of Singleton where we will drive past the active mines. Pick ups will be from Mid City Motor Inn from 5.45pm, then outside Royal Hotel on the Highway (opposite the Country Motor Inn), then the Francis Phillip and Charbonnier Motels also on the highway, at this stage to arrive at Broke by 6.30pm to enjoy the views. The evening will be Italian with wine tasting……..

If you haven’t yet booked accommodation, the options at Singleton can be sourced through the Singleton Visitor Information and Enterprise Centre (phone number 1800 447 888 or email sviec@singleton.nsw.gov.au or visit their website). I have listed the Singleton town motels from their brochure for your consideration, as follows:-

Quest Apartments (ph 02 6570380035); Highway motels – Quality Inn Charbonnier (ph 02 65722333), Country Motor Inn (ph 02 65722388), Benjamin Franklin Singleton Motel (ph 02 65722922), Francis Phillip Motor Inn (ph 02 65711991) and in the main street off the highway is the Mid City Motor Inn (ph 02 65722011).

Whilst quite a few deleagtes have indicated what they are doing, It would be nice to know in advance of attendances by delegates at the presentations on 16th November 2017 and dinner that night plus the meetings on 17th November 2017 (for bus numbers), once the appointment of delegates is finalised. We now have a quorum for the meetings of a least ten Councils represented.

Speakers for Next Ordinary Meeting in Singleton

Speakers arranged at this stage are M/s Alison Frame, Deputy Secretary – Planning Policy, Staregy and Governance, Department Planning and Environment, to provide an overview of the many planning reforms being implemented by the State government.

Plus there will be a representative from the Department of Primary Industries, Water directorate to talk about their Water Monitoring Strategy, which has commenced in the Gunnedah Basin and is due to commence in Camden/Southern Coalfields and the Hunter soon. Attempts have also been made to get either John Barilaro or Don Harwin to address delegates, if not for November this year but for next year, hopefully at Parliament House, however to no avail at this stage..

Nominations for Executive Committee

An email has been forwarded to all delegates on 2nd October 2017 outlining the Election Policy of the Association and the process with nomination forms to be completed for the Executive Committee. There are some areas in the wording in the Constituition that need clarification in relation to whether a nomination should be seconded and if so what is the qualification of the seconder – is this needed or what is the intention of this, as the Election Policy only indicates this is “preferred”. As well it also says it is “preferred” if the nomination form has attached a brief resume….. Work to be done on this by the Executive Committee for consideration at the Special General Meeting on 17th November 2017, if required. Refer Clause 14.6.1 of the Constitution to see the situation we have to review and fix if required.

Nominations for the Executive Committee positions (Chair, Deputy Chair – Coal, Deputy Chair – Metals) and three Executive Committee members) are to be with the Executive Officer by 4.30pm 10th November 2017. Refer the email that was sent out, it can re sent if needed. Current position holders are Cr Peter Shinton, Mayor Warrumbungle Shire Council, Chair; Cr Lilliane Brady, Mayor Cobar Shire Council, Deputy Chair – Metals; Cr Chris Connor, Wollongong City Council, Deputy Chair – Coal; Cr Owen Hasler, Committee member, Gunnedah Shire Council; Cr Jim Nolan, Committee member, Broken Hill City Council and one position vacated by Cr Hollee Jenkins, Singleton Shire Council.

Update on the Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

Further to the update provided in the September Newsletter on the VPAWP progress and the resolutions of the Association to advise members of its preferred position in relation to the VPA Quantum model options “to not support the worker domicile model” at its meeting on 11th August 2017, the Association has been advised by the CEO of the NSW Minerals Council, Mr Steve Gallilee, that they have decided to cease negotiations with the Association on the development of quantum models and particpating in the Joint VPA Working party.

There will still need to be some form of documentation to reflect what has been agreed to date, plus the finalisation of the Guidelines, which will be discussed by the Associations’ VPA working party members in due course. This has been raised with Mr Galilee recently and yet to be organised.

With regard to the decision on the quantum options on 11th August 2017, the Association resolved as follows:

  • The Association adopt option 3 – the actual cents per tonne (not % of production) as the preferred option in relation to coal production developments with option 4 – 1% of CAPEX  as the default model;
  • The Association reject outright the worker domicile model outlined in option 5 and delegates be requested to have their Councils write to the Minister for Planning indicating the same. (The Executive Officer is to write to member Councils outlining the Associations position on the VPA Non Infrastructure Contribution options, requesting they write to the Minister rejecting the worker domicile model with a template for them to consider and forward);
  • The Association adopt as the preferred model for higher value commodities (metals) as the means for compensating local impacts of metalliferous mining developments, a calculation to apply an “X” cents per tonne figure for the ore concentrate or use 1% CAPEX, given the different circumstances for higher value commodities, as opposed to coal;
  • The Association thanked Warwick for his comprehensive and detailed report and presentation.

Accordingly, letters were sent to member Councils in early October 2017, outlining the Associations’ preferred position, as per the aforementioned resolution and it would be appreciated if advice could be provided to the Executive Officer indicating which Councils have considered the content of the letter and what was the result for feedback to the Executive Committee and delegates.  It was noted previously that Mid Western Regional Council has already resolved to support the Association on its stance with the ”worker domicile model” and advise the Minister accordingly and we are aware Gunnedah Shire Council has ‘workshopped’ the issues and will consider their position at their November meeting. Any others?

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP) & Resources for Regions

The Association has recently received documentation from the CEO Infrastructure NSW on seeking the appointment of a delegate from the Association to replace the former Executive Officer on the Regional Independent Panel Assessment. A meeting of RIAP was held in Sydney on 5th October 2017, to deal with the Resources for Regions recent applications for shortlisting, with another one due in March 2018, that the Executive Officer attended with the concurrence of the Chair. A full report will be submitted to the Executive Committee to consider the appointment of a delegate to RIAP at its meeting on 16th November 2017.

Website

The website is a work in progress and the focus continues to be on getting more relevant information, photos (replaced, updated, possibly captioned if known), etc. The Executive Committee have approved the Executive Officer liasing with the website designer to have the newsletter submitted to delegates as part of the webpage rather than in the current format with references to links and so forth in order to improve our information exchange. A copy of some newsletters will be trialled with the website designer for further consideration.

Review of Associations’ Financial Position by Roberts & Morrow

The final report from the Auditing firm on the review has been received, it will be forwarded to the Executive Committee to consider on 16th November 2017 and submit to the Annual General/Ordinary meetings on 17th November 2017, as part of the Financial Report. It was pleasing to note that there was “nothing has come to our attention that causes us to beileve that the 30th June 2017 Special Purpose financial report of the Association does not present fairly in all material respects….

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

The Chair of the Working Party (established to review the Strategic Framework 2013 – 2016 for the Association), Councillor Chris Connor, has completed the draft Strategic Plan  2017 – 2020. Councillor Connor has sought input from the Association members on the latest content which was distributed to delegates on 11th August 2017.

The Association resolved that a copy of the Draft Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 be forwarded to delegates for comment by November 3rd 2017 (back to the Chair, Clr Chris Connor), so it can be included in the Agenda to the Special General Meeting on 17th November 2017 by the Executive Officer.

VPA Working Party Visits

If any council would like to know more about the background to the VPA Working Party, progress with negotiations and how the models proposed for Road and Non Road impact calculations, the timelines and the proposed Guidelines will work, please contact the Executive Officer. Arrangements can be made to do a presentation to your council or its relevant staff to assist, by members of the Association’s VPA Working Party.

The letter to member Councils on the VPA Quantum Options which was forwarded to members is comprehensive and provides details for Councils to be updated on the progress and options in the VPA Guidelines, if they don’t want a presentation.

Constitution Review

With the review of the Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 and it’s potential adoption, it will be necessary to conduct a Special General Meeting to make changes to the Constitution for name changes, details in clauses therein relating to “mining and energy related” matters on 17th November 2017.

The Association has also resolved that a report on a Treasurer function be also presented along with a legal interpretation on proposed changes to Clause 4.6 Representation (currently a delegate cannot be nominated by a member council if he/she has any association, commercial agreement or contract with a mining company – no doubt this will also include energy related associations, agreements or contracts) taking into account current governance provisons in Local Government, for consideration by the Association in November at the Special General Meeting.

A brief was prepared and presented to a specialist legal firm in Tamworth that deals with Association constitutions (Zuckerlegal) in September 2017 and the resultant report on the legal opinion has been received with both the brief and the report being referred to the Executive Committee for consideration of any changes needed to the Constitution and for the consideration of its recommendations or decision by delegates.

Clause 14.6.needs reviewing for clarity as part of the Association’s Election Policy.

Membership Campaign

Upper Hunter Shire Council have submitted their resignation from the Association, following a Council meeting on 31st July 2017. The Executive Officer outlined to them in response that they have to give three months notice before being able to leave the Association and are still eligible to pay this years’ fees and requested reconsideration or if adamant their feedback on why they wanted to resign. Unfortunately, further advice has now been received indicating the Council has determined to cease being a member of the Association. They have committed to the payment for fees.

Related Matters of Interest – Mining and Energy Issues in the Press

Have your say on a review of the EP&A Regulation” Media Release from Alison Frame, Department Planning & Environment, issued 13th October 2017.The Department has just launched a issues paper seeking feedback from stakeholders to inform its review of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000 (the Regulation) to complement changes to the EPA Act 1979. The exhibition is open until 24th November 2017 and peovides an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback and raise issues associated with the Regulation. Go to www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Regulationreview to view the issues paper. Enquiries to DPE on 0292746294 or email regulation.review@planning.nsw.gov.au

Coalition Government to rewrite the rules on energy” Mark Kenny in the SMH on 17th October 2017 says the Turnbull government is set to announce a major repositioning of Australia’s energy and emissions policy after cabinet signed off on a plan to scrap all renewable energy subsidies in future and instead mandate the use of sufficient ‘reliable’ energy such as coal and gas to avoid blackouts. Fairfax Media believes the government will be able to do this while still meeting the nation’s emissions reduction targets under the Paris agreement…………The Turnbull plan looks to have averted a showdown with the anti climate change MP’s led by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who were gearing up for a fight if the clean energy target (CET) was favoured. Refer www.smh.com.au for full details.

Bigger shake-up looms for states that wont mine gas” Peter Martin in the SMH on 9th October 2017 says that states that fail to fully develop their gas and mineral reserves will come under pressure with the release of a blue print commissioned by the Treasurer Scott Morrison for a shake-up of the way the Commonwealth delivers grants.The Grants Commission was limited to considering how to apply the agreed principles for distributing GST that has been in place since 2000. The Productivity Commission has been asked to examine those principles afresh and advise on alternatives. Among its specific terms of reference are “state laws and policies restricting the development of energy resources” Its about trying to address the anomalies that exist with the fair allocation of GST resources to WA. Refer www.smh.com.au article for full details.

Turnbull pledges cuts to bills and emissions”  Editorial in Northern Daily Leader 18th October 2017. Malcolm Turnbull says household bills could fall by an average $110-$115 per year under the game changing national energy guarantee plan………Labor spokesman Mark Butler said the prime minister had given up on renewable energy and not been prepared to give a price guarantee. “ At best it would appear that the braod analysis that has been undertaken would involve a 50cents per week saving for households in three years time” Mr Butler said. Figures presented to the coalition party room showed coal and gas would still contribute up to 72 per cent of energy in 2030, while Labor’s plan would cut this to 39 per cent. Refer www.northerndailyleader.com.au for full details.

Contact

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 peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 68492000 or the .Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.au or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636.

Greg Lamont –  Executive Officer       

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 30th September 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the September 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 and energy related matters.

New and Former Delegates

At the end of September and early October 2017, based on the advice received from member Councils and delegates, there have been some changes to delegates allocated to the Association. When all to hand, a welcome letter will be forwarded to any new delegates with brief details about the Association and our proposed new direction, etc to prepare them for the Special General Meeting, the Annual General Meeting and the Ordinary Meeting on 17th November 2017 in Singleton.

As well, thank you letters will be sent to former delegates particularly Councillors Hollee Jenkins (Singleton Shire Council, former member of the Executive Committee) and Gae Swain (Gunnedah Shire Council) and ex Councillor Sharon Wilcox (Cabonne, who did not stand for the recent Council elections) and the former Mayor Orange City Council John Davis (former Chair) who did not stand for election, for their contribution toward the progress of the Association and on representing their communities.

New delegates are Councillor Rob Hooke (Gunnedah Shire Council) and Councillor Sue Moore (Mayor, Singleton Shire Council). At Cabonne, Councillor Ian Davison (former alternate) replaces Sharon Wilcox with Councillor Ken Walker as new alternate, Director Environmental Services, Heather Nicholls is retained as the other delegate.

Next Meetings in Singleton 16/17th November 2017

The November Ordinary meeting will be at Singleton Shire Council Civic Centre Foyer next to the Council Chamber, anticipated to commence from 9.30am on 17th November 2017 preceded by the Special General Meeting (to consider changes to the constituition for the inclusion of renewable energy, the adoption of the 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan and the changes that will bring with re – naming etc, the inclusion of a Treasurer role and to consider clarification of clause 4.6 on representation in relation to local government best practice and current governance requirements).

The Annual General Meeting will follow the Special General Meeting, whereby delegates will be elected to the Executive Committee as Chair, Deputy Chairs (currently Metalliferous and Coal, possibly a third as Renewable Energy or retain two Deputy Chairs being Renewable and Non Renewable Energy or suchlike, yet to be determined) and three other Committee members plus or to be inclusive of a Treasurer, depending on decisions made at the Special General Meeting.

The Executive Committee will meet the day before at 9.00am in the Singleton Shire Council Civic Centre Foyer meeting room next to the Council Chambers with the afternoon tour  being replaced and introducing a different approach, rather than a mine tour. What is being organised is an afternoon of presentations with Q & A, by the Hunter Mining Dialogue, Rio Tinto and Department of Primary Industries on Innovations in mining such as their Synoptic Planning efforts (future planning/use of mining land), more details will be provided when to hand and confirmed.

Arrangements are in hand to have a bus pick up/drop off to visit a restaurant at 130 Adams Peak Rd, Broke (Mt Broke Wines and Restaurant) in the vineyards area on Thursday night, south of Singleton where we will drive past the active mines.

Accommodation options at Singleton can be sourced through the Singleton Visitor Information and Enterprise Centre phone number 1800 447 888 or email sviec@singleton.nsw.gov.au or visit their website. I have listed the Singleton town motels from their brochure for your consideration:

Quest Apartments (ph 02 6570380035); Highway motels – Quality Inn Charbonnier (ph 02 65722333), Country Motor Inn (ph 02 65722388), Benjamin Singleton Motel (ph 02 65722922), Francis Phillip Motor Inn (ph 02 65711991) and in the main street off the highway is the Mid City Motor Inn (ph 02 65722011).

It would be nice to know in advance of attendances at the meetings in Novemeber 2017, once the appointment of delegates is finalised. A few apologies have been received already and we need a quorum for the meetings of a least ten Councils represented. Something to think about. Requests for numbers will be issued in October 2017.

Speakers for Next Meeting in Singleton

Speakers arranged at this stage are M/s Alison Frame, Deputy Secretary Department Planning and Environment, to provide an overview of the many planning reforms being implemented by the State government.

Plus there will be a representative from the Department of Primary Industries, Water directorate to talk about their Water Monitoring Strategy, which has commenced in the Gunnedah Basin and is due to commence in Camden/Southern Coalfields and the Hunter soon. Attempts have also been made to get either John Barilaro or Don Harwin to address delegates, if not for November this year but for next year, hopefully at Parliament House.

Australian Minerals Council Dinner at Parliament House 6th September 2017

The Chair of the Association, Clr Peter Shinton, Warrumbungle Shire Council and Deputy Chair (Metalliferous) Clr Lilliane Brady OAM, attended a dinner in the Federal Government Parliament House dining room on 6th September 2017 as guests of the Australian Minerals Council where the Prime Minister, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull was the Guest of Honour.  Yet to hear of any stories but Peter and Lilliane were on separate tables and no doubt will relay their experiences in due course.

This was a momentous occasion for several members of our hard working Executive to be invited to the dinner and a reflection of where the Association is held in the corridors of government in Canberra, Sydney and by the mining industry nationally.

Update on the Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

Further to the update provided in the September Newsletter on the VPAWP progress and the resolutions of the Association to advise members of its preferred position in relation to the VPA Quantum model options “to not support the worker domicile model” at its meeting on 11th August 2017, the Association has been advised by the CEO of the NSW Minerals Council, Mr Steve Gallilee, that they have decided to cease negotiations with the Association on the development of quantum models and particpating in the Joint VPA Working party.

There will still need to be some form of documentation to reflect what has been agreed to date, plus the finalisation of the Guidelines, which will be discussed by the Associations’ VPA working party members in due course. This has been raised with Mr Galilee recently.

With regard to the decision on the quantum options on 11th August 2017, the Association resolved as follows:

  • The Association adopt option 3 – the actual cents per tonne (not % of production) as the preferred option in relation to coal production developments with option 4 – 1% of CAPEX  as the default model;
  • The Association reject outright the worker domicile model outlined in option 5 and delegates be requested to have their Councils write to the Minister for Planning indicating the same. (The Executive Officer is to write to member Councils outlining the Associations position on the VPA Non Infrastructure Contribution options, requesting they write to the Minister rejecting the worker domicile model with a template for them to consider and forward);
  • The Association adopt as the preferred model for higher value commodities (metals) as the means for compensating local impacts of metalliferous mining developments, a calculation to apply an “X” cents per tonne figure for the ore concentrate or use 1% CAPEX, given the different circumstances for higher value commodities, as opposed to coal;
  • The Association thanked Warwick for his comprehensive and detailed report and presentation.

Accordingly, the letter to go to member Councils, outlining the Associations’ preferred position, as per the aforementioned resolution, will go out under separate cover with this Newsletter.  The letter has been prepared in consultation with the Chair, the remaining members of the VPA working party and the consultant from Oz Environmental, who assisted the Association with the draft Guidelines and VPA Quantum options.

It is noted that Mid Western Regional Council has already resolved to support the Association on its stance with the ”worker domicile model” and advise the Minister accordingly.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP) & Resources for Regions

The Association has recently received documentation from the CEO Infrastructure NSW on seeking the appointment of a delegate from the Association to replace the former Executive Officer to be on the Regional Independent Panel Assessment. A meeting of RIAP was held in Sydney on 5th October 2017, to deal with the Resources for Regions recent applications for shortlisting,  with another one due in March 2017.

In view of the tight timeframe when the letter was received and date of their meeting, arrangements were made with the Chair for the Executive Officer to attend the meeting on 5th October 2017 to gather facts for a report back to the Executive Committee for appointment of a delegate in future.

In the meantime, a copy of the letter and attachments will be forwarded to the current remaining Executive Committee members as information in accordance with the resolution made by the Association, early this year, until the matter is dealt with on 16th November at the next Executive Committee meeting.

Website

The website is a work in progress and the focus continues to be on getting more relevant information, photos (replaced, updated, captioned), etc. The Executive Committee have approved the Executive Officer liasing with the website designer to have the newsletter submitted to delegates as part of the webpage rather than in the current format with references to links and so forth in order to improve our information exchange. A copy of this newsletter will be trialled with the website designer for further consideration.

Review of Associations’ Financial Position by Roberts & Morrow

Still awaiting final report from the Auditing firm, despite follow up emails and several meetings. The critical issue with this review is not just the financial aspects that are under review but the taxation obligations of the Association with former employees such as Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT), Pay as you go (PAYE) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Superannuation Guarantee obligations being met. Report will be ready for AMRC meetings 16/17th November 2017.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

The Chair of the Working Party (established to review the Strategic Framework 2013 – 2016 for the Association), Councillor Chris Connor, has completed the draft Strategic Plan  2017 – 2020. Councillor Connor has sought input from the Association members on the latest content which was distributed to delegates on 11th August 2017.

The Association resolved that a copy of the Draft Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 be forwarded to delegates for comment by November 3rd 2017 (back to the Chair, Clr Chris Connor), so it can be included in the Agenda to the Special Meeting on 17th November 2017 by the Executive Officer. Please have a look at the document and submit comments to Councillor Connor.

VPA Working Party Visits

If any council would like to know more about the background to the VPA Working Party, progress with negotiations and how the models proposed for Road and Non Road impact calculations, the timelines and the proposed Guidelines will work, please contact the Executive Officer. Arrangements can be made to do a presentation to your council or its relevant staff to assist, by members of the Association’s VPA Working Party.

The letter to member Councils being forwarded under separate cover is comprehensive and will provide details for Councils to be updated on the progress and options in the VPA Guidelines, if they don’t want a presentation.

Constitution Review

With the review of the Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 and it’s potential adoption, it will be necessary to conduct a Special General Meeting to make changes to the Constitution for name changes, details in clauses therein relating to “mining and energy related” matters on 17th November 2017.

The Association has also resolved that a report on a Treasurer function be also presented along with a legal interpretation on proposed changes to Clause 4.6 Representation (currently a delegate cannot be nominated by a member council if he/she has any association, commercial agreement or contract with a mining company – no doubt this will also include energy related associations, agreements or contracts) taking into account current governance provisons in Local Government, for consideration by the Association in November at the Special General Meeting.

A brief was prepared and presented to a specialist legal firm in Tamworth that deals with Association constitutions (Zuckerlegal) in September and a report on the legal opinion will be available by the end of October for presentation to the Executive and delegates for consideration of any changes needed to the Constitution.

Membership Campaign

The Executive Officer has developed a comprehensive membership proposal consisting of six pages outlining the history of the Association, its proposed new direction in the Draft Strategic Plan for the next three years, with a cost benefit analysis, its achievements, the seat at the table, strong voice for the community, offer to meet with Councils, etc.

Meetings have been held with several Councils and correspondence received from interested Councils indicating potentially they may be interested in membership, but nothing has been confirmed to date from any of them until their elections and appoitmnets to Committees have concluded. Any leads will be followed up by the Executive Officer.The proposed solar and wind exhibitions in 2018 will also help increase membership once the Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2020 is adopted in November 2017.

Unfortunately, Upper Hunter Shire Council have submitted their resignation from the Association, following a Council meeting on 31st July 2017. The Executive Officer outlined to them in response that they have to give three months notice before being able to leave the Association and are still eligible to pay this years’ fees and requested their feedback on why they wanted to resign. A response has been received indicating the Council is look at our submission and is re – considering their position. Fingers crossed.

Council Elections    

With over 20 plus Councils having elections on Saturday 9th September 2017, there are some current delegates and member Council members involved, that we are aware of, such as Cabonne, Blayney, Orange, Wollongong, Newcastle, etc. Councillors associated with the Association that were re – elected were: Clr Scott Ferguson (Mayor, Blayney Shire Council), Clr Alan Ewin (Blayney Shire Council, alternate); Clr Gordon Bradberry (Mayor) and Clr Chris Connor (both Wollongong City Council, whereby delegates are to be determined 9th October 2017); Clr Ian Davison and Clr Ken Walker (alternate), Cabonne Shire Council and Clr Nuatali Nelmes (Mayor, Newcastle City Council).

Related Matters of Interest – Mining and Energy Issues in the Press

Pushing Namoi Power StationJournalist Jamieson Murphy in the Northern Daily Leader on 18th September 2017 said “there were renewed calls for a coal fired power station in the Namoi Region, as the government looks to fill the void that will be left in the nation’s power supply when the Liddell station closes. Chair of the New England Nationals Electorate Council, Russell Webb (a Tamworth Regional Councillor), said high energy low emissions (HELE) power stations were being succesfully used in developed nations such as Germany and Japan. He’s previously suggested Boggabri would be the perfect location for such a plant. It would provide the local economy with jobs and a “kick back” from the nearby coal, rather than seeing it exported overseas.” Refer www.northerndailyleader.com.au for more details

Gunnedah Marches for Mining” reported in the Northern Daily Leader on 18th September 2017 was the successful march up the main street of Gunnedah on 16th September 2017, marking 140 years of mining in the Gunnedah area. The anniversary, organised by the Gunnedah Miners Support Group, kicked off with a street parade, a memorial service and later in the evening awards were presented for apprentice of the year, a womens award, life memberships and scholarships. A former Chair of the Association, Clr Colleen Fuller was part of the organising group instrumental in making the event a success. Well done to all involved.

Coal Rationing at Stockpiles hit Historic Lows” Peter Hannam in the Sydney Morning Herald on 18th September said “ a shortage of rail capacity in NSW prompted partly by rising coal exports has led three of the country’s biggest power stations to run down stockpiles to “historic lows”. At AGL Energy’s twin Bayswater and Liddell power stations near Muswellbrook, stockpiles dwindled to about three weeks’ supplies during winter despite rationing since October, the company said”. He also mentioned “Origin Energy, which operates Australia’s biggest coal plant – the 2880 MW Eraring station near Newcastle – also used up “substantial coal supplies” during winter, Greg Jarvis, Executive General Manager, said.” Further details are available on www.smh.com.au

Old World Thinking on Power Future” In a letter to the editor of the Northern Daily Leader on 19th September 2017 by the CEO nsw Minerals’ Council, Mr Steve Galilee says “Nature Conservation Council CEO, Kate Smolski’s recent article in the NDL is just another example of the tired “us versus them”, “coal versus renewables” old world thinking on energy security”. He says “its part of the problem in finding an affordable and reliable solution to our current energy woes. We don’t live in the Conservation Council’s fantasy world where the sun and wind are endless. We need reliable baseload power when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. Those that can’t accept this reality are the true deniers on energy security. The rest of us are trying to get on with finding a common sense partnership between reliable and affordable baseload coal fired power and investment in emerging renewable power sources.” Refer www.northerndailyleader.com.au

There are a lot of articles online and in newsprint that stories could be highlighted in this newsletter on Liddell, Bayswater, AGL, Origin Energy, etc and on whether the Federal Government can coerce AGL to extend the life of Liddell for several more years or is it battery power or gas or wind and solar or a combination of them all as the solution?

It appears as readers of these articles that the seriousness of the situation is exacebated by the lack of leadership and lack of policies on energy from the current and past Federal governments with plenty of comment from state politicians of all persuasions but with no concrete actions or direction either!

Contact

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 peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 68492000 or the .Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.au or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636.

Greg Lamont –  Executive Officer   

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 31st August 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the August 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 and energy related matters.

Next Meetings in Singleton 16/17th November 2017

The November Ordinary meeting will be at Singleton Shire Council Chambers, anticipated to commence from 9.30am on 17th November 2017 preceded by the Special General Meeting to consider changes to the constituition for the inclusion of renewable energy, the adoption of the 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan and the changes that will bring with naming etc, the inclusion of a Treasurer role and to consider clarification of clause 4.6 on representation in relation to local government best practice and current governance requirements.

The Annual General Meeting will follow the Special General Meeting, whereby delegates will be elected to the Executive Committee as Chair, Deputy Chairs (currently Metalliferous and Coal, possibly a third as Renewable Energy or retain two Deputy Chairs being Renewable and Non Renewable Energy or suchlike, yet to be determined,) and three other Committee members plus or to be inclusive of a Treasurer, depending on decisions made at the Special General Meeting.

The Executive Committee will meet the day before at 9.00am in the Singleton Shire Council Chambers meeting room with theafternoon tour program yet to be finalised with the General Manager and staff of Singleton Shire Council and the Executive Officer and Chair.

Speakers arranged at this stage are M/s Alison Frame, Deputy Secretary Department Planning and Environment to provide an overview of the many planning reforms being implemented by the State governmnet and attempts are being made to get either John Barilaro or Don Harwin to address delegates through the Minister for Planniong’s Office as per his recent offer of assistance on 11th August 2017.

Australian Minerals Council Dinner at Parliament House 6th September 2017

The Chair of the Association, Clr Peter Shinton, Warrumbungle Shire Council and Deputy Chair (Metalliferous) Clr Lilliane Brady OAM, will be attending the dinner in the Federal Government Parliament on 6th September 2017 as guests of the Australian Minerals Council where the Prime Minister, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull will be the Guest of Honour.

This is a momentous occasion for several members of our hard working Executive to be invited to the dinner and a reflection of where the Association is held in the corridors of government in Canberra, Sydney and by the mining industry nationally. Well done, no doubt there will be some interesting banter, good stories to come from Peter and Lilliane attending and hopefully this is an annual event that enables our delegates to rightfully “sit at the table” with the decision makers at the highest level.

Update on the Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

As per the resolution of the Association at its May Ordinary meeting, the Executive of the Association engaged Warwick Giblin of Oz Environmental, to develop a case for “a percentage of the price of mineral product sold to market by the proponent” to be paid to Council, as a Voluntary Planning Agreement contribution to be used by Councils for public benefit. This will embrace coal, gold, copper, tin, zinc, agricultural lime, lead, scandium, etc.

Warwick presented his report on the VPA Social and Economic Non Infrastructure Impact Contribution Quantum models to delegates on 11th August 2017 and outlined several options for inclusion in a VPA for Councils such as:- a percentage of product sold, consideration of using a percentage of the royalty rate paid to the state government by the miner from the LGA, a cents per product per tonne approach and a 1% CAPEX option. The worker domicile model was outlined, however due to a lack of transparency and lack of any reliable accuracy of data collected to verify statistics, it was discarded as a preferred model option. (A copy of Warwick’s presentation and report has beeen circulated to delegates).

The consultant also recommended that the quantum for energy production such as wind farms, gasfields and solar farms, not be addressed in this process, as there is already a quantum measure for wind farms accepted by most proponents and Councils, such as $1250 plus CPI multiplied by the Installed Capacity in megawatts, which can be applied to these other renewable sources.This has been used by the Department of Planning in VPA’s.

After much discussion, the meeting resolved the following:

  • The Association adopt option 3 – the actual cents per tonne (not % of production) as the preferred option in relation to coal production developments with option 4 – 1% of CAPEX  as the default model;
  • The Association reject outright the worker domicile model outlined in option 5 and delegates be requested to have their Councils write to the Minister for Planning indicating the same. (The Executive Officer is to write to member Councils outlining the Associations position on the VPA Non Infrastructure Contribution options, requesting they write to the Minister rejecting the worker domicile model with a template for them to consider and forward);
  • The Association adopt as the preferred model for higher value commodities (metals) as the means for compensating local impacts of metalliferous mining developments, a calculation to apply an “X” cents per tonne figure for the ore concentrate or use 1% CAPEX, given the different circumstances for higher value commodities, as opposed to coal;
  • The Association thanked Warwick for his comprehensive and detailed report and presentation.

Thereafter, its back to the NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) to outline the Association’s position before their Board meeting mid September 2017, then to the Department of Planning to update them on where the Joint VPA Working Party is at. The NSW Mineral Council’s Board preferred position on Social Impact calculations is based on the Worker Domicile Model which our Association has rejected for the reasons outlined. Hopefully the project can be finalised by the November meetings in 2017.

Presentations to the August Ordinary Meeting

In addition to the presentation by Warwick, the delegates were fortunate to receive comprehensive and informative presentations from:-

  • James Marshall, Centennial Coal, Community Engagement Manager, on the Springvale Coal Mine Stand Down for 8 weeks in 2015 as a result of a second Planning Assessment Commission review and the Survey results that were conducted by them on employees, contractors and businesses to guage the social and economic impacts on the Lithgow City Council area community. (A copy of the survey results and presentations have been forwarded previously to delegates).
  • Sarah Jardine, Senior Project Officer, NSW Department Primary Industries, Land and Water Commissioners office, on presenting the models they have developed to provide more accurate, up to date and easy to access information on mining activities in Local Government Areas. They have come up with models in short report formats focussing on dust, noise, blasting, water quality and rehabilitation that show a Status Report, Regional Summary and Compliance Summary. The details are on the dpi.nsw.gov.au website. Delegates were impressed with the information that they, their Councils and the community can easily follow and be kept up to date with on the mining activities in their areas.

Attendance of Minister for Planning, Minister for Housing and Special Minister of State, the Hon Anthony Roberts at the August Ordinary Meeting

Delegates were delighted that the Minister could attend the meeting and speak to them informally, providing an opportunity for questions and to be updated on changes proposed to regional plannning, housing and the environment. Being a former Councillor from Lane Cove, the Minister indicated that he understands the challeges rural and regional Councils have and he looks forward to their strong leadership in driving the Regional Plans developed by the state government to encourage growth, economic development and jobs.

Delegates from Lachlan Shire Council raised the accuracy of the recent Census results as a matter of concern given that State and Federal government programs and planning are based around the results of the Census data and how was the State government going to address this situation. The Minister acknowledged this as a problem and if any Council has any suggestions to address the issue, he would love to hear from them.

Wollondilly Shire Council delegates raised issues in relation to recent announcements in the press on housing plans by the State government in the Wollondilly Shire which is experinecing rapid growth, without any consultation with their Council. The Minister undertook to arrange a visit to Council to talk to them in the near future and to ensure the Council and the government were working together on the planning for the growth.

Overall, the Minister spent valuable time with delegates on other planning matters during morning tea after his address plus taking on board respective individual issues. He said “give me an excuse to assist your Association and any of its members”. His parliamentary Liaison Officer, Callum Fountain provided his card to delegates to take the Minister up on his request, as the Minister is also the Cluster Minister overseeing Energy, Utililities and Resources (Don Harwin) and Environment and Local Government (Gabrielle Upton). Callums phone number is 02 85745630 and mobile 0437866443.

(A copy of the Minister’s speech has been previously forwarded to delegates and notes on the issues raised were in the Draft minutes for the August Ordinary meeting which are on the Association’s website and have also been emailed to delegates)

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP) & Resources for Regions

The Association is awaiting confirmation of the appointment of a delegate on the Regional Independent Panel Assessment that will consider applications for Resources for Regions.The CEO from NSWMC and the former Executive Officer of the Association were on the Panel only to review Resources for Regions applications. The Panel makes recommendations to the Minister on who were to receive grants (against set criteria) as independents.

The State government has $1.3billion available in its Regional Growth Fund and expressions of interest closed on 18th August 2017 for Resources for Regions projects. The Association has resolved that the Executive Officer write to Minister Barilaro seeking confrimation that the Association will have a delegate appointed to RIAP which he has recently “stated to a Clr from Broken Hill City Council” whilst in Broken Hill. Further details are available from Ministers portfolio site – the Office of Regional Development – www.regionalnsw.business@dpc.nsw.gov.au)

Website

The website is a work in progress and the focus continues to be on getting more relevant information on the site such as minutes, submissions, Newsletters, etc. The Executive Officer had a meeting with the website designer in June to obtain costings on how the monthly Newsletter can be web based with internet links rather than a word document from the Executive Officer and discussions were held on a review of the website to condense it, remove old photos, look at modernising it, make the website more user friendly and so on.

The Executive Committee have approved the Executive Officer liasing with the website designer to have the newsletter submitted to delegates as part of the webpage rather than in the current format with references to links and so forth in order to improve our information exchange. More on this as the format gets sorted.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

The Chair of the Working Party (established to review the Strategic Framework 2013 – 2016 for the Association) Councillor Chris Connor, has completed the draft Strategic Plan  2017 – 2020. Councillor Connor has sought input from the Association members on the latest content.

The Association resolved that a copy of the Draft Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 be forwarded to delegates for comment by November 3rd 2017 back to the Chair Clr Chris Connor, so it can be included in the Agenda to the Special Meeting on 17th November 2017 by the Executive Officer.

VPA Working Party Visits

If any council would like to know more about the background to the VPA Working Party, progress with negotiations and how the models proposed for Road and Non Road impact calculations, the timelines and the proposed Guidelines will work, please contact the Executive Officer. Arrangements can be made to do a presentation to your council or its relevant staff to assist, by members of the Association’s VPA Working Party.

Several enquiries have already been received by Councils for this to occur.

However as a result of the presentation to the delegates on 11th August 2017 on the VPA Quantum for Social & Economic Non Infrastructure Impacts paper by Warwick Giblin, the Association resolved that the Executive Officer forward a detailed report to member Councils on the Association’s position on the VPA Non Infrastructure Contributions options attaching Warwick’s report and presentation, requesting they individually write to the Minister for Planning rejecting the worker domicile model as an option.

This will provide an opportunity for member Councils to be updated on the paper initially, on the VPA Guidelines and progress with the NSW Minerals Council and the Joint Working Party to date generally, which will assist member Councils to comprehend the details more fully.

Constitution Review

With the review of the Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 and it’s adoption, it will be necessary to conduct a Special General Meeting to make changes to the Constitution for name changes, details in clauses therein relating to “mining and energy related” matters on 17th November 2017.

The Association has resolved that a report on a Treasurer function be also presented along with a legal interpretation on proposed changes to Clause 4.6 Representation (currently a delegate cannot be nominated by a member council if he/she has any association, commercial agreement or contract with a mining company – no doubt this will also include energy related associations, agreements or contracts) taking into account current governance provisons in Local Government, for consideration by the Association in November at the Special General Meeting.

Membership Campaign

The Executive Officer has developed a comprehensive membership proposal consisting of six pages outlining the history of the Association, its proposed new direction in the Draft Strategic Plan for the next three years, with a cost benefit analysis, its achievements, the seat at the table, strong voice for the community, offer to meet with Councils, etc.

Meetings have been held with several Councils and correspondence received from interested Councils indicating potentially they may be interested in membership, but nothing has been confirmed to date from any of them. Any leads will be followed up by the Executive Officer and at the August meeting several leads were mentioned and will be followed up by delegates and the Executive Officer.The proposed solar and wind exhibitions in 2018 will also help increase membership once the Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2020 is adopted in November 2017.

Unfortunately, Upper Hunter Shire Council have submitted their resignation from the Association, following a Council meeting on 31st July 2017. The Executive Officer to follow up for feedback as to why. Their delegate has not been at a meeting for sometime, however full fees for 2017/18 are due and payable under the Association’s Constitution, Clause 22 whereby three months notice must be given and fees are due and payable in the finacial year.Given they still have to pay, a detailed submission on the benefits of being a member will be forwarded to request they reconsider and to assist them in the reconsideration of their position.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) State Significant projects

The Department of Planning has developed a Guidance Series to implement a range of initiatives including earlier and better engagement with the community, ensuring that the EIA focusses on the most important issues, providing more information about project change processes following approval and greater accountability for those preparing EIS’s. There were nine documents on exhibition outlining the different elements of EIA for State Significant projects in NSW and can be found at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/EIAreview.

Clrs Lilliane Brady, Owen Hasler and Gae Swain along with staff from Cobar Shire Council, Gunnedah Shire Council and Lachlan Shire Council and the Executive Officer attended the workshop held at Dubbo on 17th August 2017. Workshops were held throughout the state and the Association made a submission (prepared by Warwick Giblin with input from Clrs Jim Nolan, Owen Hasler, delagate at the time Steve Loane and the Executive Officer, on behalf of member Councils). A copy of this submission has been forwarded to delegates and placed on the Association’s website, submissions closed on 1st September 2017.

Celebrating 140 years of Mining in the Gunndah Shire area

Clr Colleen Fuller, life member of the Association, has requested that member Councils be reminded there is a celebration of 140 years of mining in Gunnedah on 16th and 17th September with a street parade commencing at 11am, followed by a memorial service and a BBQ lunch, an Awards Dinner to be held that night form 7pm and a recovery breakfast next morining. Enquiries to Colleen on 0429420 or Laurie on 0407899536.

Council Elections

With over 20 plus Councils going to the polls this Saturday 9th September 2017 there are some current delegates and member Council members involved. We wish you luck with the election results.

Related Matters of Interest – Mining and Energy Issues in the Press

‘Treasurer Scott Morrison says cheap coal – fired power era is ending” Journalist Phillp Coorey says in the Financial Review 13th August 2017 that Treasurer Scott Morrison says the era of cheap, coal – fired power is coming to an end and anyone claiming it is the sole solution to the nations energy dilemma is propogating a myth. In comments that push back Tony Abbott and others that Australia should ditch its commitments to greenhouse gas reduction and just build coal – fired power stations, Mr Morrison said that would not work.

New coal – fired power was much more expensive than that being generated by existing power stations which were nearing the end of their lives, he told a private policy forum over the weekend…… Read more in the article on www. afr.com/business/energy/treasurer-scott-morrison, etc.

“PM denies new coal”  In an article in the Industrial Career newsletter dated 28th August 2017, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says his government will not build new coal fire power stations and that the debate on the clean energy target (CET) should move ahead. The Federal government has accepted 49 of the 50 recommendations from the Finkel report on Australian energy leaving only the contentious CET on the table. Go to www. greencareer.net.au/archived-news/powerful-papers-outline-middle-ground

The article goes on to say that pro coal MP’s including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Craig Kelly and former prime minister Tony Abbot want new coal  power plants to be included in the CET target. The Prime Minister has this week told reporters he has no plans to build or fund new coal – fired power stations, but shied away from detailing exactly what he wanted for the CET. He told the ABC “ We are already taking strong steps on Snowy Hydro which is a Government owned energy company. It is a vitally important national project – its vitally important national infrastructure. We have certainly funded to a large degree a lot of green energy. Its about doing stuff outside the box”.

The Federal government has opened the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) to coal power projects. The article said Mr Turnbull was keen to stress the need for reliable baseline power when he says “The critical thing to remember is that if you bring in intermittent renewables like wind and solar, obviously wind doesn’t blow all the time, sun doesn’t shine all the time. If you bring them in and replace baseload power that generates all the time, you run the risk of ending up with inadequate baseload power, massive spikes in energy prices and huge reliance on gas”

History of Negligence” This is the headline for an article written by journalist Jamieson Murphy from Northern Daily Leader dated 9th August 2017, criticising Whitehaven Coal and labelled it a “rogue operator” in view of breaches of noise, blast limits, water quality and air pollution outlined in documents obtained through the freedom of information access process by the Environmental Justice Australia organisation. It states that the results from the EPA show that four of the company’s Namoi Valley coal mines breached at least one of their environmental licence conditions in the past six years. He wrote that they had only been fined seven times for 50 breaches between 2010 and 2016 with a fine total of $24,000. The company argued that they took their responsibilities very seriously in a strict compliance regime and rejected the claims they were not acting environmentally responsibly. For further details, see www.northerndailyleader.com.au and the following article.

“Demonstration against new coal mines” Journalist Ella Smith wrote in the the Namoi Valley Independent on 15th August 2017 that anti mining campaigners have declared the only way to protect the Liverpool Plains from further coal mining is to “barrage our state member”. More than 100 demonstrators marched in Tamworth recently in a stand against the new Shenhua and Adani coal mines. It follows the NSW government’s $262m buyback of half of Shenhua Watermark coal mine’s expansion on the Liverpool Plains last month. Further details can be obtained from www.nvi.com.au

Mining giant rejects claims”  Whitehaven Coal has hit back at claims it is failing to meet its environmental obligations in this article also written by Jamieson Murphy in the Northern Daily Leader 19th August 2017. Whitehaven say the previous article was a ”gross misrepresentation to suggest a handful of instances of non compliance was indicative of a systemic problem”. A Whitehaven spokesman said on any given day the company was required to comply with nearly 7000 environmental protection obligations across its eight sites and the majority of the instances are administrative such as paperwork deadlines not being met or issues outside of their control that related to power outages. Most of the matters were self reported by Whitehaven he said. Further details can be found on www.northerndailyleader.com.au

Contact

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 peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 68492000 or the .Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservice.com.au or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636.

Greg Lamont – Executive Officer  

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 31st July 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the July 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.

Next Meeting in Sydney 10/11th August 2017

In the meantime, the August Ordinary meeting will be at Rydges Sydney Central, 28 Albion St, Surry Hills, from 9.30am on 11th August 2017 on the ground floor in the Riley room to the left of reception. The Executive Committee will meet the day before at 3.00pm in the Board Room also on the ground floor.

Speakers arranged are Minister for Planning and Housing, the Hon Anthony Roberts who has accepted our invitation to address delegates on changes to planning legislation affecting mining and energy related councils in NSW, etc; Sarah Jardine, Senior Policy Officer Land and Water Commissioner to do a presentation on the Mining Activity Reports now being developed by them and James Marshall, Group Manager Community Engagement from Centennial Coal who has completed a project on what social impacts the 2015 Springvale Colliery Standown (8 weeks whilst the PAC reviewed the extension of the mine) had on their employees and the Lithgow and district community economy, and he wants to present the results to the Association – this will be of interest given our work on the VPA to date.

Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

As per the resolution of the Association at its May Ordinary meeting, the Executive of the Association have engaged Warwick Giblin of Oz Environmental, to develop a case for “a percentage of the price of mineral product sold to market by the proponent” to be paid to Council, as a Voluntary Planning Agreement contribution to be used by Councils for public benefit. This will embrace coal, gold, copper, tin, zinc, agricultural lime, lead, scandium, etc.

At this stage, Warwick has recommended that the quantum for energy production such as wind farms, gasfields and solar farms, not be addressed in this process, as there is already a quantum measure for wind farms accepted by most proponents and Councils, such as $1250 plus CPI multiplied by the Installed Capacity in megawatts, which can be applied to these other renewable sources.

The scope of work will explore a means to calculate a percentage of the price of the mineral product sold by the miner and other options such as CapEx and a combination of these and the Worker Domicile model preferred by the NSW Minerals Council. He will consider the current royalty rate charged by the NSW Government on miners for the right to mine a public resource.

Warwick has distributed a Draft paper to the Executive and members of the VPA Working Party for input and will present his thoughts to the delegates at our August meeting after the Minister and presenters finish before finalising the document. Thereafter then its back to the Joint VPA Working Party and NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) before their Board meeting mid September 2017, hopefully this will be with agreement on the options for inclusion in the VPA Guidelines. The NSW Mineral Council’s Board preferred position on Social Impact calculations is based on the Worker Domicile Model.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP) & Resources for Regions

The Association is awaiting confrimation of the appointment of a delegate on the Regional Independent Panel Assessment that will consider applications for Resources for Regions.The CEO from NSWMC and the former Executive Officer of the Association were on the Panel only to review Resources for Regions applications. The Panel makes recommendations to the Minister on who were to receive grants (against set criteria) as independents.

The State Government has $1.3billion available in its Regional Growth Fund and details of the Resources for Regions component are as follows:

“Expressions of interest for the latest funding round for the Resources for Regions program will close on 18 August 2017, and all eligible local councils are encouraged to apply.
Resources for Regions helps mining-affected local councils activate their economies and deliver the services their communities deserve. The funds can be invested in projects to build or upgrade road and rail infrastructure, water and sewerage systems, as well as social infrastructure such as childcare centres.
The Department of Premier and Cabinet has developed an online slide presentation to assist local councils better understand the Resources for Regions application and assessment process: visit www.nsw.gov.au/resourcesforregions. Since 2012, Resources for Regions has allocated more than $230 million to 42 projects right across NSW, and a further $50 million was allocated to the program in the June Budget. Progress to date:

  • the fund has allocated $8 million for the replacement of Cobar’s water treatment plant in Cobar;
  • Narrabri received $6 million to upgrade its airport;
  • almost $20 million has been invested in Stage 2 of the Muswellbrook Hospital redevelopment;
  • tens of millions have been invested in road upgrades, bridge replacements and central business district renewals.” (Source Media Release 4th August Office Regional Development – regionalnsw.business@dpc.nsw.gov.au)

Website

The website is a work in progress and the focus has been on getting more relevant information on the site such as minutes, submissions, Newsletters, etc. The Executive Officer had a meeting with the website designer in June to obtain costings on how the monthly Newsletter can be web based with internet links rather than a word document from the Executive Officer and discussions were held on a review of the website to condense it, remove old photos, look at modernising it, make the website more user friendly and so on.

An update on options has been submitted to the Executive Committee to note as the Executive Officer and website manager further discusses options, details will be reported to the Executive Committee for consideration in due course.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

The Chair of the Working Party (established to review the Strategic Framework 2013 – 2016 for the Association) Councillor Chris Connor, has completed the draft Strategic Plan  2017 – 2020. Councillor Connor has sought input from the Working Party members on the latest content. The Chair will outline the details of final draft to delegates at the August meeting.

VPA Working Party Visits

If any council would like to know more about the background to the VPA Working Party, progress with negotiations and how the models proposed for Road and Non Road impact calculations, the timelines and the proposed Guidelines will work, please contact the Executive Officer. Arrangements can be made to do a presentation to your council or its relevant staff to assist, by members of the Association’s VPA Working Party.

Several enquiries have already been received by Councils for this to occur. However the presentation to the delegates on 11th August 2017 on the VPA Quantum for Social & Economic Impacts paper will provide a more complete picture of the overall process as it is virtually down to seeking agreement on the “Non Road impact” calculations options with NSWMC.

Constitution Review

With the review of the Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 and it’s adoption, it will be necessary to conduct a Special General Meeting to make changes to the Constitution for name changes, details in clauses therein relating to “mining and energy related” matters. As well it has been has been suggested by delegates at meetings that a Treasurer function be developed and changes to Clause 4.6 Representation (currently a delegate cannot be nominated by a member council if he/she has any association, commercial agreement or contract with a mining company – no doubt this will aslo include energy related associations, agreements or contracts) for consideration by the Association in November.

Membership Campaign

The Executive Officer has developed a comprehensive membership proposal consisting of six pages outlining the history of the Association, its proposed new direction in the Draft Strategic Plan for the next three years, with a cost benefit analysis, its achievements, the seat at the table, strong voice for the community, offer to meet with Councils, etc. Meetings have been held with several Councils and correspondence received from interested Councils indicating potentially they may be interested in membership, but nothing has been confirmed to date from any of them. Any leads will be followed up by the Executive Officer.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) State Significant projects

The Department of Planning has developed a Guidance Series to implement a range of initiatives including earlier and better engagement with the community, ensuring that the EIA focusses on the most important issues, providing more information about project change processes following approval and greater accountability for those preparing EIS’s. There are nine documents on exhibition outlining the different elements of EIA for State Significant projects in NSW and can be found at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/EIAreview

Workshops are being held throughout the state and attendees must register to particpate. You do this by going into eiaproject.eventbrite.com.au, as shown on their email. To contact the Department Staff ring 1300305695 or email EIAproject@planning.com.au. Public submissions close on 1st September 2017.

An additional workshop is to be held in Dubbo on 17th August 2017, 11.00am to 1.30pm Quality Inn, Whylandra St, Dubbo to enable North West, Central West and Far Western Councils to attend to assist with travel costs and the tyranny of distance. It is suggested that Councils send representatives to support the decision by the Department to have another workshop after the lobbying that was undertaken. Delegates will need to register. The Executive Officer will be in attendance at the Dubbo workshop.

The Executive Committee will consider engaging Oz Environmental at its meeting on 10th August 2017, to prepare a submission on behalf of members as the EIA State significant development Guidelines embrace the previous submissions prepared by the consultant on EPA Act 1979 changes, Social Impact Assessments, etc.

Related Matters of Interest – Mining and Energy Issues in the Press

“Sunshine Coast Council Launches own $50 million Solar Farm” The press have been busy singing the praises of the Sunshine Coast Council, north of Brisbane in Southern Queensland, recently. Local Government Professionals Australia have done the same with the following commentary released recently in their eNews article “Taking the strengths of Australian Local Government to the world” as follows:

First on the home front, a big shoutout to the Sunshine Coast Council which is truly living up to it’s name with the launch of its $50 million solar farm. The farme will fully offset all the council’s power needs, and by taking control of it’s electricity supply to combat rising electricity costs into the future. According to the Mayor Mark Jameison, the farm is the first to connect to th electricity grid in south – east Queensland an is expected to deliver $22 million in savings (after costs) for ratepayers over the next 30 years. Nice work.”

“Subsidised mines would be a $10 billion hit to the NSW budget”  This was the headline in the Sydney Morning Herald, 17th July 2017 under “Resources – Queensland supply would slash prices” as the by line, written by Matt Wade, he says inter alia….The NSW government stands to lose more than $10billion in mining royalties between 2023 and 2035 if the proposed Adani mine and other coal projects in Queensland’s Galilee Basin go ahead, new research shows. Economic modelling by the well known resource analytics firm Wood Mackenzie found new coal supply from new mines in the Galilee Basin would reduce the price of coal by 25% and cut NSW coal exports by about 80 million tonnes per year. This will reduce royalties by $10.2 billion to 2035. In a statement to the Herald, a spokesperson for the NSW Minister for Resources, Don Harwin said:

“NSW is operating in a global coal export industry and produces high quality coal that is exported mainly to Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. The Division of Resources and Geosciences advises that as the Adani project is planned to export to India, the project wont affect NSW exports as our state has national exports to India”

This statement is contradicted by the Wood Mackenzie analysis, the article said, as price changes in one grade of coal are almost immediately passed onto other grades. Refer www.smh.com.au.

Grazing study on mine sites” In an article in News, North West Magazine on 12th July 2017, it was reported that a grazing study in the Hunter Valley could have implications elsewhere. The Department of Primary Industries (DPI), three and half year study of beef grazing on rehabilitated mine pastures has confirmed growth of improved pastures provides increased livestock productivity compared to original native pastures. The study was initiated by the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue seeking an answer to the question – can rehabilated mine land sustainably support productive and profitable livestock grazing?

The article went on to conclude that “Outcomes from this study will assist the mining industry to identify targets for rehabilitation and perhaps changes to rehabilitation practices”. For more details refer to www.northwestmagazine.com.au

Coal cash could boomerang” Mike Foley, the Land, 20th July 2017, in his article said “when is $262 million in government spending not worth $262m? That will be when, and if, Chinese miner Shenhua forks out for a mining licence. The NSW government paid Shenhua $262m for half the Watermark exploration licence, which Shenhua bought for $300m in 2008.

Exploration conditions set a $200m mining fee for a mining licence, which is required if the mine progresses from exploration into production. Shenhua has not yet applied for a mining licence. NSW Resources Minister Don Harwin has been keen to emphasise this point. That means if Shenhua decides to build its mine and shells out $200m for its licence, NSW government would be $62m out of pocket. Shenhua would be $200m ahead and the mine plan would remain unaltered. Essentially, what government has bought is surety Shenhua will not mine the black soil of the Liverpool Plains.

This prompts the question, was the $262m buyback necessary? The Department of Planning, the ultimate consent authority, could achieve the same outcome by ruling mining the black soil  is unacceptable, and future applications to do so would be rejected.” Refer www.theland.com.au

Great Power Gouge” In the The Daily Telegraph on 27th July 2017, Matthew Benns writes under the by line “How energy companies are cashing in on your electricity bill misery” when he says:

The three energy companies that supply power to NSW are banking hundreds of millions of dollars in profits while arecord number of suburban families are on the verge of having their light turned off due to soaring electricty prices. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that the executives of AGL, Origin Energy and Energy Australia are enjoying bumper seven figure salaries, as the number of management and sales staff around them rise by up to 400 per cent. It comes as experts say the cost of gas and coal makes up just 3 and 5 per cent of household electricity bills. And the price the electricity companies pay to buy power on the wholesale market is actually predicted to drop substantially……One of the biggest costs households are paying for is actually so companies can retain customers otherwise known as advertisng!” For full details see www.dailytelegraph.com.au.

Contact

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 peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 68492000 or the .Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservice.com.au or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636.

Greg Lamont – Executive Officer  

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair