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