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

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 30th June 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the June 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

There will be a clash with the NSW Country Mayors meeting at Parliament House on 11th August 2017 when we have our Ordinary meeting in Sysdney on 11th August 2011. AMRC members that are part of the Country Mayors Association need to ensure you have adequate representation at our meeting so we don’t have a quorum issue, given our now nineteen members, we need half plus one to attend which is eleven!

In the meantime, the August 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.They have offered a significant discount for us to go there this time and it will be a lot cheaper than in March. The meeting room is booked for 25 delegates.

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.

Meeting with Lithgow City Council

Chair and Executive Officer met with new General Manager (Graeme Faulkner) and Director Planning and Environmental Services (Andrew Muir) on 27th June 2017in Lithgow (brrrrrr), to provide an update on the Association, its achievements and direction for them to report back to Council regarding their continued membership. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor could not attend the meeting.

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. Now fully refreshed from his holiday, Warwick will have a draft to the Associations VPA Working Party by 31st July 2017 and have the document refined and tabled at our August meeting.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP)

Enquiries and minutes have revealed that it appears that the Panel has been established to independently review projects being funded by the NSW State government such as Resources for Regions, Water and Waste Water backlog Program for Infrastructure NSW, Country Bridges, and other infrastructure projects.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 who were to receive grants (against set criteria) as independents.

The officer on the Panel from Premier’s and Cabinet Department, Chris Hanger, is to write to the Association to request the appointment of a delegate to the Panel to replace Don Tydd. There are no current applications to consider. As at the date of this Newsletter, a letter from Mr Hanger has not yet been received despite follow up by the Executive Officer, who will continue to pursue the issue.

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, etc. The Executive Officer had a meeting with the website designer on 12th June to obtain costings on how the monthly Newsletter can be web based with inernet 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.  When to hand, details will be reported to the Executive Committee for consideration

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 is seeking input from the Working Party members on the latest content. The final draft will be presented 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 Working Party.

Department of Fair Trading Incorporations Act Workshop

The Executive Officer attended a workshop in Tamworth on5th June for an update to ensure Association acting appropriately and to assist with review of the Constitution.

Membership Campaign

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

Potential new members for the Association have been canvassed including those that were recent announcements of solar energy grants from the NSW government and any that were coal, metal, wind but were not current members that were suggested by delegates.

Proposals have been forwarded to the following Councils with results still unfolding and a few looking promising:- Armidale Regional, Balranald Shire, Bogan Shire, Coolamon Shire, Dubbo Regional, Forbes Shire, Gilgandra Shire, Maitland City, Mid Coast, Muswellbrook Shire, Narrabri Shire, Narromine Shire (as a follow up to reconsider), Warren Shire, Walgett Shire and Lithgow City (still members but and update for them.

Any leads will be followed up, so if you have any, please refer them to 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.

The Executive Officer has requested a workshop be held in Dubbo to enable North West, Central West and Far Western Councils to attend to assist with travel costs and the tyranny of distance. The localities chosen don’t come out any further than Muswellbrook!

Air Quality Monitoring Network Expansion

The Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced last week at a NSW Clean Air Summit that a new air monitoring network in the Namoi Region is expected to be up and running by the end of the year. Full details are provided in her Ministerail Media Release available on the Environment Protection Authority website www.epa.nsw.gov/air/clean-air-nsw.

The Association will put its own media release out to recognise the work done by the Association and in particular Councillor Hasler from Gunnedah Shire who has been pushing the issue for the last four years or more, and it looks likely it is finally going to occur. This will be put up on our website once released. Well done to current and former delegates.

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

Directors – 3 Roles”. An advertisment appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald recently by Department of Planning and Environment who is seeking three Directors for their Energy Division – Director Energy Policy, Director Energy Operations and Director Energy Programs. The advertisement prelude is of interest when it says “The Department of Planning and Environment is the lead NSW Government agency in planning for a growing NSW. The Department’s vision – Planning for growing NSW: inspiring strong communities, protecting our environment – provides the benchmark for our partnership and leadership approach to engaging and working collaboratively with key State and Local Government, community and industry stakeholders to deliver better outcomes in the areas of planning, energy, water, resources, arts, local government and the environment”. Refer Salt and Shein who are doing the recruitment for further details. Hollie Hughes is the contact on 0419620970 or email hhughes@saltshein.com.au

Revised Mine Subsidence Districts Announced”. The Subsidence Advisory NSW agency has advised the public via the local press in each district LGA that they have reviewed and established mine subsidence areas in NSW, outlined changes to mining subsidence districts, effective from 1st July 2017, reducing them in size, some areas extended and some new districts have been established. The advertisement indicates that some areas have been removed where there are no or minimal mine subsidence risks, new districts were developed whre mines are planned and that SubsIdence Advisory NSW will continue to manage all mine subsidence safety matters and compensation issues. Detailed maps are available from www.subsidenceadvisory.nsw.gov.au

At the end of the Mine” article appeared in the Qantas Travel Insider ‘Heart and Soul” and mentioned by Councillor Dan Thompson at the Broken Hill Ordinary May meeting which depicted a photo of Glencore’s revegetated Ulan coal mine site in eastern NSW and commentary form the author Chris Ryan “A mining company’s job isnt over until the rehabilitation work is done. It cant be left to the end when excavation of the resources is wrapping up – that’s too late.” Councillor Thompson pointed out the article highlighted the situation in Germany where the government invested more than $20billion rehabilitating 224 voids that were a hangover from the Soviet era brown coal industry. Connected to river networks the voids become lakes and in turn popular tourist attractions while functioning as flood mitigation systems and other countries. Full details can be sourced from www.travelinsider.qantas.com.au

Update on Status of Cadia Operation” (courtesy of delegate Heather Nicholls, Director Planning and Environmental Services, Cabonne Shire Council) market release document dated 27 April 2017 by Newcrest Mining Limited in response to a large seismic event which occurred in the region of the Cadia Mining operation, 25kilometres south of Orange, NSW. On Easter Friday at 2.31am, they experienced a 4.3 magnitude earth quake centred around the underground panel cave operations. No one was injured and crews were directed to underground bunkers and sfely evacuated to the surface that morning. Mining was suspended in the area until recently for up to ten weeks however stockpiling of ore elswhere continued. It appears the quake was a direct cause of the panel cave activity and not a natural result of any geological fault line movement. Apparently whils the qauke was fely across the region, no above ground structural damage was incurred. Refer www.newcrest.com.au for further details.

Mining Waste Lands”, an article appeared in the Land on 15th June 2017 (link provided by delegate Steve Loane, Warrumbungle Shire Council, refer www.theland.com.au/story/4735995/mining-waste-lands/) where the focus is on the post mining impacts on the landscape and envoronment in the Singleton and Muswellbrook local government areas. This referred to an article in the Singleton Argus 18th Jun 2017 titled “Small villages bear the brunt of mining expansions”. Whilst the article acknowledged the advancement of mining bringing significant benefits to the region through employment, economic success, the development of regional centres, etc the over cost of prosperity was never considered especially for villages and residents who have been engulfed.

Solar Grows Across the State”, an article in the Land 29th June 2017, written by John Ellicott, highlighted the Soar Energy Burst in NSW as companies cash in on the renewable enrgy funds offered by the Federal Government as the Renewable Energy Target approaches he said. The Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts said “the project at Balranald would power more than 76,000 homes and boost local employment with 250 construction jobs. He went on to say that. NSW has outdone itself in large scale solar. The Sunraysia Solar Farm at Balranald, NSW  will have capacity for 200 megawatts of energy, twice the size of Nyngan Solar Farm – the largest operating solar farm in the Southern Hemisphere. NSW is continuing to lead with solar research and innovation, and we are maximising investment under the national renewable energy target of 23.5% by 2020” Refer www.theland.com.au

Review conservative on wind, solar: Finkel”, The Australian Financial Review 22nd June 2017, in its article on Renewables, written by Mark Ludlow, said that the Chief Scientist Alan Finkel syas his panel has been conservative in its modelling for the landmark energy review which recommended a Clean Energy Target (CET), saying the reality was “investors favoured wind and solar because they were cheaper than coal and gas”. Dr Finkel said “the review was not about coal it was about outcomes”. Refer www.afr.com. The Finkel report “Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market” has been the subject of many articles and much debate, too many to reference in this Newsletter.

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 May 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the May 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.

AMRC meeting in Broken Hill 11/12th May 2017

Thank you to the delegates that made the long trip to Broken Hill by plane or car. The tour of the Cristal Sands Separation Plant on Thursday 11th May was a highlight and very informative, followed by a tour of the mining historic sights at Perilya Mine Site and Museum, the Line of Lode and a tour of the city, courtesy of Silver City Tours.

In the evening, at the networking dinner in the Astra Hotel, we were very fortunate to be accompanied by the Deputy Mayor of Broken Hill City Council, Clr Dave Gallagher who deputised for the Mayor and welcomed delegates.

Next day, preceding the Ordinary Meeting, the Mayor of Broken Hill City Council, Clr Darriea Hurley, welcomed delegates and proudly spoke about the mining history of Broken Hill and her life as a local. The Mayor was accompanied by Councillor Christine Adams, a local historian from Broken Hill and a City Councillor, who addressed delegates and enlightened them with her presentation on “I’m a Miners Daughter” and in her role as the Curator at the local Railway Museum. Delegates were extremely impressed by the informative address by Councillor Adams and the Mayor.

Behind the scenes, for the traditional mine site tour, network dinner, press, tour bus, organising speakers and meeting venues, was a lot of the leg work done by Councillor Jim Nolan, a member of Broken Hill City Council, their delegate to the Association and on our Executive Committee. Without Jims’ assistance and contacts, the success of the meetings and trip to Broken Hill would not have been as high, thank you Jim for the help given to the Executive Officer and Executive of the Association with our visit to Broken Hill.

Next Meeting in Sydney 10/11th August 2017

We are unable to have our Ordinary meeting at Parlaiment House this year as the MP for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall has the Jubilee Room booked for the NSW Country Mayor’s Association. In speaking with the Parliamentary Services staff, the process requires sponsorship by a Local Member of Parliament to book the facility and on this occasion neither day on 10th or 11th August 2017 are available.

When the dates are set at the AMRC Annual General Meeting each year, every endeavour will be undertaken prior, to ensure we don’t have a clash with other groups so we can get to have our future meetings at Parliament House. In the meantime, efforts will be on having the August meeting at Rydges Sydney Central again where they have offered a discount for us to go there and subject to accurate numbers it will be a lot cheaper than in March. We have asked for a quote for a meeting room for 25 delegates and a small room for the Executive Committee to meet beforehand, at a cheaper rate than in the past.

Planning Legislation Updates

The Association has been informed by the Deputy Secretary of Planning Policy, Strategy and Governance, Alison Frame that submissions for changes to the EPA Act have closed and  there were 470 submissions from a wide range of stakeholder groups and interested individuals. This will take some time to sort out and a stakeholder report will be issued in due course providing an update on policy and  other developments as a result. Further details can be obtained from Alison direct at alison.frame@planning.nsw.gov.au or the project team at legislativeupdates@planning.nsw.gov.au

Alison has always been very cooperative and has indicated it is highly probable that she and staff will be attending our meeting at Singleton to do the mine tour in the afternoon and attend the meeting next day to provide an update on planning policy matters, etc.

An invitation has been forwarded to the Minister for Planning, the Hon Anthony Roberts requesting a meeting with the Associations’ Executive Committee and Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party members to provide an update on progress to date and other planning matters that may well flow from the conversation such as recent changes to the EPA Act. Alison has also been helpful in assisting with the provision of emails to expedite the process.

Claim the Date

Former Chair of the Association and life member of the Association, Councillor Colleen Fuller, Gunedah Shire Council has forwarded documentation promoting a mining event being held in Gunnedah on 16 – 17th September 2017, in “Recognising 120 years of Mining across the Gunnedah Shire”.

There will be a Memorial Service and an official Miners Support Dinner on Saturday 16th September 2017 and BBQ breakfast next day. If you can make it or need further details email gdhminers@gmail.com

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. The consultant will have a draft to the Associations VPA Working Party by 31st July 2017 and have the document refined and tabled at our August meeting.

Further details will be provided as they unfold, however Warwick is not able to start the project until early July 2017 due to other commitments, however he is the best person to do this and will research what other states have used to compensate the community for the impacts on the social fabric of the community from mining and related activities.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP)

Enquiries and minutes have revealed that it appears that the Panel has been established to independently review projects being funded by the NSW State government such as Resources for Regions, Water and Waste Water backlog Program for Infrastructure NSW, Country Bridges, and other infrastructure projects.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 who were to receive grants (against set criteria) as independents.

The officer on the Panel from Premier’s and Cabinet Department, Chris Hanger, is to write to the Association to request the appointment of a delegate to the Panel to replace Don Tydd. There are no current applications to consider.

As at the date of this Newsletter, a letter from Mr Hanger has not yet been received.

Review of Mines Subsidence Board

A response has been received from the Chair Mines Subsidence Board (on a Subsidence Advisory NSW letterhead), Laura Christie in response to issues raised by Councillor Dan Thompson, Singleton Shire Council delegate to the Association and supported by the Association at our 2 March 2017 meeting in Sydney and the subsequent letter sent to the Minister for Finance, Services and Property, the Hon Victor Dominello.

Matters raised by Councillor Thompson (who is a member of the Mines Subsidence Board as a Local Government Industry representative appointed by the Minister for Local Government), were the NSW governemnt proposing to pass legislation to allow miners to deal direct with affected residential properties, the return of the $20m levy fund monies or a substantial part thereof to miners to do this and recommending the establishment of a Rehabilitation Fund in lieu for this to occur for active and non active mines.

Given the importance of these critical matter, the content of the response from the Chair is summarised below in point form for the information of delegates and will be dealt with at the next meeting of the Association in August, if not beforehand, by the Executive:

  • The government is reviewing the Mine Subsidence Compensation Act 1961 to make underground coal operators more accountable for subsidence damage to people’s homes and infrastructure;
  • The reforms seek to reposition Subsidence Advisory NSW as a more effective regulator than the Mines Subsidence Board and as a better case advisory service provider for property owners affected by subsidence damage;
  • Regarding the Coal Mine Subsidence Compensation Fund, the new user pays model require the miners to pay for their own subsidence impacts in a system that will be overseen by Subsidence Advisory NSW, who will manage the fund;
  • The Chair has indicated that the funds will also be used to provide compensation for damage caused by non active coal mines and for the current backlog of claims from active mines (until the legislation is passed);
  • The existing contingency within the Fund will not be returned to industry in the long term, only to assist for a number of collieries deemed worse off in the transitional period;
  • Long term impacts of mining on the environment will be addressed by other departments eg Department of Planning administers mining rehabilitation bonds and they have Derelict Mines Program.

The Chair, suggested that if there were any further details or enquiries they should be directed to these people – Mine Subsidence Reforms (Felicity No, Acting Director on 02 93727116) or in relation to mining rehabilitation bonds and the Derelict Mines Program (Kylie Hargreaves, Deputy Secretary, Resources and Geoscience form the Department of Planning and Environment on 02 93386986).

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, etc. The Executive Officer has organised to meet with our website designer in June to obtain costings to review the website and remove old photos, look at modernising it, make the website more user friendly, have the newsletter part of it and so on.

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), presented in a new format and content, the draft Strategic Plan  2017 – 2020 to delegates at the Association’s meeting in Broken Hill with a new Vision “To be the peak body in NSW, empowering and resourcing local councils and their communities to address the challenges and opportunities created by mining, energy production and related infrastructure”.

The draft Strategic Plan also has new Context and Consultation themes with three Strategic Directions as follows:-

  • Advocacy so that member councils are heard
  • Resourcing to support member councils
  • Policy to empower member councils

Each Strategic Direction is supported by commentary on it’s Purpose, the People and Processes involved, the Products developed and the Practice regime to be followed with Key Performance Indicators and Performance Measures. There is also a possible name change for the Association, as a result of this fresh look, at what is happening to councils and impacting on our communities from mining and energy related activities in order to be more relevant, effective and assisting such as the  “Mining and Energy Related Councils” (MERC), any others?.

Councillor Connor is seeking input from the Working Party members on the content. The final draft will be presented to delegates at the August meeting.

Commissioner for Land and Water – Mining Activity Statistical Reports

The Association Chair has been provided with copies from the Commissioner for Land and Water that his staff have developed to monitor and provide accurate up to date details to the public on mining activities in each Local Government Area throughout NSW.

At the meeting in Broken Hill, it was resolved that the Association support the devlopment of such informative reporting on mining activities and that the Commissioner, Mr Jock Laurie and his staff be invited to attend the next meeting of delegates in Sydney on 11th August to do a presentation on the details outlined in the Mining Activity Statistical Reports that his office have developed for member Councils to share with their communities ie Complinace levels and Status Reports for every mine in NSW.

The reports can be found on the www.landandwater.nsw.gov.au website or enquiries can be made to the NSW Land and Water Commissioner on phone 02 63913429.

The Commissioner has gladly accepted the invitation to take delegates through these new tools at our next meeting in August 2017.

Related Matters of Interest – Energy Issues in the Press

 “Oxfam’s coal-free call is dangerous fantasy” Steve Gallilee, NSW Minerals Council CEO, in the NSW Daily Telegraph 20th May 2017, had a swipe at Oxfam’s latest policy platform when it released its “More Coal Equals More Poverty” report which criticises Australia for supplying coal for electricity generation to developing nations. He says “the report claims renewables alone can power our region’s poorest nations and calls on Australia to transition to 100 per cent renewable energy in just 12 years time”. Steve says this agenda has been dismissed by economists and ignores one of the biggest impediments to raising people out of poverty – access to reliable, affordable electricity.

Steve points out that Oxfam’s suggestion that renewables alone could lift the poor out of poverty in places such as India is a dangerous fantasy. He said the Indian Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy, Mr Piyush Goyal said in 2016 “Solar works when the sun is shining, wind works when the wind is blowing, hydro works when there is water in the rivers. You must have coal”.

Three years before this, Steve and a few of his mining industry mates participated in a charity event called Trailwalker, a 100 kilometre walk held annually, to raise funds for Oxfam. They raised several thousand dollars and believed they were walking to raise money to help people get out of poverty. He is not happy! Refer www.dailytelegraph.com.au

 

“Clean energy ‘’rocketing to record year” Peter Hannam, Environment reporter in the SMH reported that “Australia’s clean energy record is heading for a record year for new solar and wind farms, generating thousands of jobs in regional areas and bringing the 2020 Renewable Energy Target within range.

The Clean Energy Council’s annual report released on Tuesday shows the country generated about 17,500 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy last year, more than halfway to the 2020 goal of 33,000 GW-hours a year”. Refer details on the www.smh.com.au and www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au websites for further details.

 

“Move to strip councils of DA power slammed” Reported in the SMH 31st May is the backlash from the NSW governments decision to strip metropolitan councils of their planning powers to determine DA’s above a certain value and possibly where a Councillor has a pecuniary interest. For some regional Councils the use of panels would be voluntary. Refer www.smh.com.au for more details. Local Government NSW issued a media release entitled “Panel Measure Erodes Local Democracy” on June 1st 2017 raising its concerns about the proposals.

 

“Royalties agreed over Adani mine” In the SMH 31st May 2017, it is reported that the “on again off again” Adani mine in QLD is back on track following a decision by the QLD government to have a six year royalty deferral with capped payments at $5m pa put in place to assist Adani proceed. Projected jobs were to be in the vicinity of 10,000 for the $16billion development.The Federal government also is assisting by lending Adani the money, under what terms is not clear. Refer www.smh.com.au publications for further details.

 

“Government push for clean coal funding” Published in the SMH 31st May, the Turnbull government will test support for coal in Parliament by introducing changes that would allow the green bank to invest in carbon capture and storage technology if it cuts pollution by at least half. They propose to expand the Clean Air Finance Corporation to back fossil fuel power plants that includes technology sometimes descibed as “clean coal”. The technology involves capturing the emissions at the source and burying them underground. Refer www.smh.com.au

“Bush left in the Dark”

Essential Energy has reported that its customers have experienced an average of nearly two balckouts a year, while Endeavour and Ausgrid who service the popoulations in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong reported its customers experienced less than one blackout a year on average.

NSW Energy Minister, the Hon Don Harwin said “the people of country NSW understood  you cant compare apples with oranges. It sometimes takes longer to travel the distance to get to a fault in country NSW, not always, but most of the time, than it does in Sydney. It wont always be possible to do things as quickly, people in the regions get that”. Mr Harwin also was quoted as saying Essential Energy had improved their service levels, pointing to the slight decrease in the number of outages in 2015/16 at 1.8 per customer, after it peaked at 2.0 power outages per customer in 2014/15.

Membership Updates

Narromine Shire Council have advised that they have resigned from the Association, which is disappointing, without reason. As the Executive Officer has pointed out to the Association’s Executive, when there is significant change at a Council, after the four yearly September elections, for political reasons or otherwise, these things happen, especially when there are not any experienced delegates or Staff on Council left to provide rational comment or defend a position as to why the Council joined the Association in the first place. Narromine had 6 out of 9 Councillors stand down, including Mayor and Deputy Mayor. But as we all know that is democracy and we move on.

Now that the scope and content of the draft Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2020  is taking shape, submissions will be forwarded to identified Councils that have or are about to have mining and renewal energy developments in their Local Government Areas, followed by phone calls and visits.

The meeting with Lithgow City Council and Association has been deferred until new General Manager has settled in. Any asistance delegates can provide with membership leads or contacts, please give the Executive Officer aor Chair a ring or send an email.

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 Working Party.

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 April 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the April 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. This newsletter has a mining historical flavour based on Broken Hill for your information and interest, in view of the meeting being held in Broken Hill.

Events at the AMRC meeting in Broken Hill 11/12th May 2017

As you are all aware, the next Executive Committee and Ordinary meetings of AMRC are in Broken Hill on 12th May 2017, with details on accommodation and travel options circulated in a previous emails to delegates by the Executive Officer. We hope all attendees are happily booked by the time this newsletter is circulated before the meetings.

The Executive Committee will meet in the morning of 11th May 2017, at 9am in the Musicians Club, the Ivory Room. The minutes will be circulated before the Ordinary meeting next day via email and in hard copy format.

A mine tour is  organised for the afternoon on Thursday 11th with a tour of the Cristal Sands Separation Plant. The CEO from the Mines Separation Plant will do a presentation to delegates thereafter take them on a tour of the mine site where access is possible.

Silver City Tours will then take the delegates to the Perilya Mine Museum at the Reilya Mine Site and then a tour of the district high lighting mining related features and commentary by the tour guide, on board the bus.

The networking dinner on Thursday night will be held at the Astra, corner Argent and Crystal Streets, around seven to seven thirty, bar facilities are available beforehand, with Ordinary meeting next morning being held at the Musicians Club, in Crystal Street on the 12th, at 9.00am, where we have morning tea at 10.30am and lunch at 12.30pm before departing.

Broken Hill has a lot of mining history of national interest, and Councillor Christine Adams, a local historian from Broken Hill City Council will enlighten delegates at the meeting on Friday morning after the Mayoral welcome from Councillor Darriea Hurley on the mining nad heritage history of Broken Hill. Should be an interesting perspective on mining from a local councillor.

Information on the Cristal Mine Separation Plant, it’s proposed expansion, Perilya Mines and Mining History are provided below to give some background in case you cant make it.

1.Cristal Mines Separation Plant (from their website)

“Cristal Mining is one of Australia’s premier mineral sands miners. Cristal Mining’s mining and mineral separation operations are located in two significant mineral sands provinces in Australia, namely the Murray Basin in New South Wales and southwest of Western Australia.

Cristal Mining was formerly named Bemax Resources Limited (Bemax) and was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Cristal Mining, under its former name Bemax, was incorporated in Australia in 1987 and has grown through successful exploration and acquisitions, including the acquisition of the Western Australian-based Cable Sands group in May 2004. Cable Sands, which continues to operate as a subsidiary of Cristal Mining, is one of Australia’s first Titanium minerals producers, having commenced production in 1956.

In late 2004 and early 2005, Bemax commenced construction of the Ginkgo Mine and Broken Hill mineral separation plant in the Murray Basin. Heavy mineral concentrate production at the Ginkgo Mine commenced in December 2005 and commissioning of the Broken Hill mineral separation plant occurred in February 2006.

In 2006 Bemax became the largest producer of leucoxene, the third-largest producer of rutile and the seventh-largest producer of zircon globally, and is now recognised as one of Australia’s premier mineral sands miners.

In 2008, Cristal Australia Pty Ltd acquired all of the shares in Bemax via an off-market takeover bid and Bemax was removed from the ASX official list of listed companies.

Cristal Australia Pty Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Titanium Dioxide Company Limited (Cristal). Cristal is a private company with headquarters in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

2. Expansion of the Cristal Mines Operations –  Western NSW region.

Further information was gleaned from their website which outlined their expansion plans as per the following Fact Sheet which talks about Broken Hill, Balranald, Cobar, Central Darling Shire Councils and the mines infrastructure needs in relation to road, rail and energy which is of topical interest, albeit in retrospect and has not been updated on their website.

Ginkgo – Snapper Surface Mining Projects – Cristal Mining presently has two operating mines in the Murray Basin. Dredge mining has been in oper­ation at the Ginkgo mine near Pooncarie since Dec 2005. Surface mining commenced at the nearby Snapper mine in 2010 with a second dredge commencing at Snapper in Jan 2011.

The ore is initially concentrated at site and then trucked to Broken Hill for further processing at our mineral separation plant (MSP). Final MSP products are transported by rail to Port Adelaide where they are shipped to our customers in Australia and to the rest of the world.

Atlas – Campaspe Surface Mining Project – Cristal Mining is planning to establish a further mine in the Murray Basin to be called Atlas-Campaspe. Atlas-Campaspe will be located 80 km north of Balranald and approximately 270 km south-east from Broken Hill. Because of its remote location, construction of appropriate infrastructure support has been a major component of development.

Cristal Mining is currently funding an $8 million feasibility study to determine the viability of the Atlas- Campaspe Project and to achieve both State and Commonwealth government environment approval and Development Consent. The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) was completed and submitted to the Department of Primary Industries of NSW in February 2013 and environmental and mining approvals are expected by the end of 2013. Preliminary design is planned to commence during 2014.

The deposit consists of over 6 million tonnes of contained heavy mineral to be concentrated and processed into Ilmenite, Leucoxene, Zircon and Rutile end products. The mine has a planned mine life of 11-20 years.

Economic Impact – The Atlas-Campaspe project will require a capital investment of approximately $200 million (2012 dollars) staged over 6 years, with an initial up-front cost of $140 million. Over 200 personnel will be required during the construction phase of the project. Between 100 to150 full time employees will be required when the site is operational.

Benefits to the local and State economy over the mine life are estimated at over $1,000 million. This would also incorporate a further expansion of the present Broken Hill MSP.

Infrastructure – Power options are presently being considered. Initial power will be via on-site generators. The option to construct a new power line from Balranald will be revised at a later date.

As mentioned logistics is an issue in a remote location like Atlas Campaspe. At this time the preferred transport route is to truck heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) from Atlas-Campaspe to Ivanhoe, and then rail the HMC from Ivanhoe to our MSP. This route involves travelling highways from Balranald to Ivanhoe. There is approximately 50 kilometres of unsealed road to the south of Ivanhoe.

A proposal put forward by the local shires of Balranald and Central Darling is to have this section sealed as part of the Wool Track between Balranald and Cobar. Cristal Mining has supported the local shires in this endeavour and has secured State Government funding for this project.

With potential infrastructure upgrades and employment opportunities on offer in the local area, positive community feedback from Ivanhoe and Balranald has been strong.

Sustainability and Environment – Cristal Mining has a successful record of rehabilitation in both the east and west of Australia. Former mining projects Jangardup, Yarloop and Sandalwood have been successfully rehabili­tated in consultation with the local landowners.

Cristal Mining recently completed its first major rehabilitation program in the Murray Basin at Wemen and Ginkgo mine sites. Innovative design has significantly reduced the effects of erosion at these sites. Not even the 1-in-200 year flooding event that occurred in February 2011 could dampen the efforts.

Community – Cristal Mining employs 211 staff and over 350 contractors at these operations the majority of whom live within the region. It is estimated that the State and the region benefit by over $120 million per year in salaries, payments to suppliers and royalties.”

3. Perilya Mining at Broken Hill (from their Website)

“By approaching opportunities with a fresh set of eyes, using innovative approaches to tap into the rich seam of past knowledge, and introducing new practices and technologies, we believe that we can unlock the considerable latent value at Broken Hill.” Paul Arndt – Managing Director  & CEO

In 2010 Perilya achieved a significant milestone – its first eight years of successful operation of its Broken Hill Mine.  The company has brought a new lease of life to the historic Broken Hill mine since acquiring it in June 2002, increasing production and extending its life to more than six years based on existing reserves. 

During these eight years, Perilya Broken Hill mined approximately 15 million tonnes of ore and shipped over 800,000 tonnes of zinc metal and 450,000 tonnes of lead.

Further increasing ore reserves and extending the mine life at Broken Hill to beyond 10 years are important cornerstones in the company’s strategy for sustainable growth.

World class ore

The Broken Hill ore body is “world class”, having produced more than 200 million tonnes of ore over the 120 years since mining commenced in 1885.   This long history in mining has endowed Perilya with well – developed infrastructure that has the capacity and flexibility to operate at higher volumes and with a range of ore sources.

Despite Broken Hill’s long history, many areas still remain relatively under explored – creating new and exciting opportunities for Perilya.

Perilya now manages 1,042 square kilometres of prospective terrain which includes the mine leases, incorporating the Southern Operations, the North Mine, and the Potosi Trend, and the historic Little Broken Hill and Pinnacles areas.

The Broken Hill operation produces two products, a zinc concentrate and a lead concentrate.  Concentrates from Broken Hill are a premium coarse-grained product, being of low complexity and containing a grade of about 50 per cent zinc in the zinc concentrate and 70 per cent lead in the lead concentrate.

Mining techniques

Perilya has introduced significant changes and improvements in the operations at Broken Hill. An underground equipment replacement program has resulted in improved productivity, while the concentrator was simplified to improve recoveries and concentrate quality.

Mining is principally conducted using a long hole open stope method with variations developed for extraction of the secondary resource located in the previously worked pillars area.

Long hole stoping currently accounts for 70 per cent of underground production, with pillar extraction and development ore contributing approximately 30 per cent of the total. The ventilation system comprises ten ventilation shafts with three surface exhaust fans and one surface intake fan.

The proprietary techniques and operating approaches developed through operating a large, complex remnant mine not only enables Perilya to extract full value from Broken Hill, but also provides a competitive advantage for developing other challenging ore bodies.

The miners

Perilya is fortunate to be part of a skilled and experienced mining community that is supportive and has a strong sense of identity.  The company has an experienced and settled residential workforce, one that blends younger professional and technical expertise with mature Broken Hill mining experience – a workforce that is committed and eager to embrace new ideas and technologies.

Looking forward

Perilya aims to increase production and improve margins at the Broken Hill mine, one of the largest historic base metal mines in the world.  Development of the North Mine, the Potosi decline and Flying Doctor deposit (subject to feasibility) will provide additional ore streams to fill spare concentrator capacity.  In addition, promising near mine exploration has the potential to create further development opportunities in the Broken Hill region.

4. Mining History of Broken Hill (from the www.travelin.com.au website)

Built on the back of mining, Broken Hill boasts an incredible story of life underground.

After more than 125 years of mining in Broken Hill, the 7.5km-long, 1.6km-deep Line of Lode has yielded 300 million tonnes of ore – enough to fill more than 1500 Sydney Opera House concert halls – and generated over $100 billion.

Boom, bust and bravado

Fortunes have come and gone in Broken Hill against an economic background of boom and bust.

Today, mining in Broken Hill is still big business. It generates more than $400 million a year, which, in 2012, accounted for almost half of the city’s gross regional product. The two main mining operators, Perilya and CBH Resources, together employ more than 500 locals in mining works.

Over the years, the vivid stories associated with extreme fluctuations in the city’s wealth have contributed their own richness to the unique character of Broken Hill.

You can experience these stories first-hand on a series of easy, self-guided walking tours – the Broken Hill Heritage Trail, the Broken Hill Cemetery Walk or the Heroes, Larrikins and Visionaries of Broken Hill Walk. Pick up a brochure from the Broken Hill Visitor Information Centre.

Syndicate of Seven

Seven men from Mount Gipps Station put Broken Hill on the map in 1883. The group, known later as the Syndicate of Seven, discovered ore on an isolated ‘broken hill’. These men were George McCulloch, Charles Rasp, James Poole, David James, Philip Charley, George Urquhart and George Lind. Together, they formed the first mining company in Broken Hill, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP).

Rasp and his fellow station hands David James and James Poole pegged out the original lease in September 1883. Rasp is the most famous of the seven today, but the equally well-educated and considerably tougher George McCulloch actually masterminded the syndicate and helped form BHP in 1885. McCulloch was an active patron of the arts and helped establish what is now the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery. McCulloch also funded Broken Hill’s first hospital.

The young jackaroo Philip Charley also benefited from the find. Charley first recognised silver chlorides near Rasp Shaft (pegged by McCulloch) and his ongoing involvement enabled him to import a 1907 Silver Ghost – the first Rolls-Royce in Australia. But others didn’t do so well. George Urquhart and George Lind sold their shares at a loss. James Poole sold half his share to the cattle king, Sidney Kidman, for a herd of bullocks worth only £40. As perspective on their mistakes, in its first year alone BHP mined ore worth more than £42,000 (equivalent in value to about $6.5 million today). You can see busts of the original Syndicate of Seven outside the Broken Hill City Council Chambers.

Pioneering Unionism

For most of Broken Hill’s history, mining was a very dangerous profession, but social changes made here resonated around the world. In the late 1800s, safety in the mines was the sole responsibility of the workers themselves. As a result, miners put up with terrible conditions, toiling away by lamplight with hammer and chisel, and breathing silicon-laden dust underground or lead fumes from the smelters. Many died of miners’ phthisis or lead poisoning. Accidents were common and often resulted in death; over the years, more than 800 miners have lost their lives on the job. Today, their legacy is commemorated at the Miners Memorial that stands on top of the Line of Lode.

This memorial is a telling reminder of why Broken Hill pioneered a culture of trade unionism, including the introduction of the 35-hour working week and the defeat of conscription in Australia. In 1890, almost every worker on the Line of Lode belonged to a union like the giant Amalgamated Miners’ Association, once one of the most powerful unions in Australia. Massive attempts were made to improve working conditions, including a large strike in 1892.

Union activities at the turn of the century were frequently hostile, which led to Broken Hill developing an infamous reputation for intense and frequent strikes. The conditions that induced these events were a far cry from modern, safety-first methods that use high-tech extraction machines, huge dump trucks and cement-lined underground roads. The city’s proud militancy is presented in the 1905 Trades Hall building – the first privately owned trades hall in the southern hemisphere – and in murals on walls of buildings in central Broken Hill.”

Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

A meeting was held in Sydney with the NSW Minerals Councils CEO Steve Galiliee and Director Policy Greg Sullivan, (their Chair seat is vacant and they have called for expressions of interest for a replacement who is to be appointed soon), Association’s Chair, Cr Hollee Jenkins, Steve Laone and the Executive Officer. The meeting discussed our respecteve differences in the negotiations on the VPA plus Resources for Regions eligibility criteria and other matters of interest.  

Both parties agreed to continue as the is still more to do with a cents per tonne model by the AMRC or call it another name with some variations to ensure we get what our communities need versus the NSWMC worker domicile model being altered to account more for post mining impacts on the community. The clarity on the use of IPART as an umpire, when are they involved, who pays and the legal substance of the documents, still needs to be agreed to by the parties and to fit in with with NSW State Government changes, so busy times ahead getting this sorted. But we are not too far apart on the models and final agreement.

More details are provided in the business papers and further discussions will be held at the meetings in Broken Hill this week.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP)

We have finally got to the bottom of this.

Enquiries and minutes have revealed that it appears that the panel has been established to independently review projects being funded by the NSW State government for projects such as Resources for Regions, Water and Waste Water backlog Program for Infrastructure NSW, Country Bridges, and other infrastructure projects, etc. However the appointment of the CEO from NSWMC and the former Executive Officer were on the Panel only  to review Resources for Regions applications and the Panel recommended to the Minister who received grants against set criteria as independents..

The officer on the Panel from Premier’s and Cabinet Department, Chris Hanger, is to write to the Association to request the appointment of a delegate to the Panel to replace Don Tydd. There are no current applications to consider.

The panel consists of Roger Fletcher (Chair), Fiona Simson (ex Clr Liverpool Plains Shire Council and National Farmers Federation), Jenny Davis (convenor from NSW Infrastructure), Derek Schoen (NSW Farmers), Richie Williamson (private appointment), Stephen Galilee (NSWMC), Don Tydd (AMRC), Chris Hanger (NSW Department of Industry now Premier ‘s and Cabinet Department), Naomi Dinnen (Treasury) and Ray Calligeros (Probity Audit).

Enquiries are continuing as to the background, status and if an AMRC delegate is to be part of this panel. Delegates will be updated in due course.

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, etc.

Changes to delegates has been rectified and if there are any other discrepancies or ideas on its format please contact the Executive Officer who will organise to adjust the details and consider all options.

Photographs will be changed as they evolve such as a photo of chair Shinton and Deputy Chair Connor with Shadow Minister Adam Searle at the meeting on 2nd March 2017.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

A working party has been established to review the 2013 – 2016 Strategic Framework for next three years.

The chair and convener is AMRC Deputy Chair Coal Cr Chris Connor, the members of the working party appointed on 2nd March 2017 are:-

  • Cr Melanie Dagg, Cessnock City Council
  • Cr Michael Banasik, Wollondilly Shire Council
  • Cr James Nolan, Broken Hill City Council
  • Glen Wilcox, Lachlan Shire Council
  • Jason Linnane, Singleton Shire Council

The convenor will provide an update to the meeting at Broken Hill in May with the aim to have it presented to the delegates for consideration in August.

Related Matters of Interest

“We’re getting out of coal”.  “Starting in 2022 and ending by 2050, we are getting out of coal. We already run Australia’s largest solar and wind farms. We’ve also started afund that will put up to $3billion into making renewable energy for everyone. And this is just the beginning. You with us?”……….. Who do you think would place full page adverisements like this in daily papers? It was in the Sydney Morning Herald 24th April and was presented by AGL. More details from their web site www.agl.com.au/the plan.

“‘How Adani mine could cost us $70m” Published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 24th April 2017, the article raises concerns in the press that a proposed loan of $1 billion from the Commonwealth Government to fund a rail link to the giant Adani mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has been called into question by economic modelling showing it may cost NSW hundreds of millions dollars a year by increasing the global supply of coal by about 6%. The article says some NSW mines would close, jobs lost communities affected and state government misssing out on $240million a year in royalties, etc

A spokesperson from the NSW Department of Industry made this statement in response “NSW produces high quality coal that is exported mainly to Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. We do not expect a significant impact on the traded coal prices or NSW coal production if the Adani project is approved. All matters in relation to this project are for the Commonwealth and Queensland governments”. NSW Minerals Council was reported as not wanting to make a comment. The Australia Institute commented. Refer www.smh.com.au

“Council pushes Westpac to reject Adani mine”  Byron Shire Council has upped the pressure on Westpac over any potential funding of the Adani mine by voting to withdraw the $1million it has with the bank.. The Council also said it woul prevent Westpac getting any of the $70million plus term deposits held by the council that is maturing this year. Byron Council has aligned with six other councils on this stand. Westpac said they had not been approached by Adani and the other three traditional banks have said they would not fund them. Refer www.smh.com.au 24th April 2017.

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 Office. Arrangements can be made to do a presentation to your council or its relevant staff to assist, by members of the Associations Working Party.

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.

Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.su or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636

Greg Lamont – Executive Officer

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 31st March 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the March 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.

Expanding the Association

There is a lot of press circulating about renewable energy options given the seious energy issues experienced in the recent South Australian black outs; the establishment of possible battery plants to assist; wind farms popping up in Western NSW; solar farms built in Nyngan, Moree, Broken Hill and potentially at Walgett, Gilgandra and Warren Shires; new mining likely to open up in Dubbo (rare earths), Armidale (antimony), Coolamon (tin) and Glen Innes (tin) and expansions at Nyngan, Cobar (metals) and Narrabri (coal).

Then there is the Coal Seam Gas in the Pilliga, a possible power station at Boggabri and the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme and a review of the Resources for Regions eligibility criteria forecast. As they say in the clasics its all happening and to watch this space!

A question to ponder – should only those councils that are members of the Association of Mining Related Councils be the recipients of Resources for Regions funding to look after regional and remote communities affected by mining related activities or not?

It has been mentioned in conversations among delegates in recent times informally, that it might be time for the Association of Mining Related Councils to consider a name change and to consider expanding its scope to embrace the need for councils in NSW to have a stronger voice on not just mining related non renewable matters but renewable energy matters; provide assistance with Planning Agreements; utilise the experience of mining related councils that are members of the Association and sit at the table when renewable and non renewable energy options are discussed by the Federal and State governments.

There are no other entities out their representing their communities in any of these matters like the Association of Mining Reklated Councils has the potential to, other than perhaps LGNSW in a broad policy sense, there is a window of opportunity here to consider in due course.

Perhaps it is time for the Association to look at other options such as reviewing our constitution (which has been done to move from coal to metalifferous in the past) and to consider renaming to the Association of Mining and Energy Related Councils or similar.

Food for thought!

Attendance at Meetings

Because of all the busy schedules of councils, we need your help as we still need an idea of who is attending meetings, which affects the catering costs as you know these days are usually signed off on estimated numbers weeks before and this could be significant if the majority of Council delegates don’t attend. If you can, please have your Executive Assistants let the Executive Officer know when you can’t attend meetings with plenty of notice.

There is also the issue of having a quorum for our meetings. With the uniqueness of our membership, the tyranny of distance is always a problem for us to deal with.

Our constitution states that a quorum is more than half the number of member councils in attendance i.e. at least 11 councils to be represented at tha Ordinary meeting is the quorum. If not present, then the meeting has to be deferred for an hour and after that set down at a later date and place by the Chair or the Executive deals with the business, hopefully we will never get to this.

I look forward to seeing you all at future meetings for your important input and debate, in particular Broken Hill.

Next Meeting to be in Broken Hill 11/12th May 2017

The next Executive Committee and Ordinary meetings of AMRC is in Broken Hill on 11th/12th May 2017. Details on accommodation and travel options have been circulated in a previous email to delegates by the Executive Officer.

The Executive Committee will meet in the morning (TBA) of 11th May 2017, in the Musicians Club, minutes will be circulated before the Ordinary meeting next day. A mine tour is usually organised and we are trying to get a tour of the Cristal Sands Separation Plant.

The networking dinner that night will be held at the Astra, corner Argent and Crystal Streets, around seven to seven thirty, bar facilities are available beforehand, with Ordinary meeting next morning being held at the Musicians Club, in Crystal Street on the 12th, where we have morning tea and lunch before departing.

Hope to see you all there, Broken Hill has a lot of mining history of national interest, should be an informative and interesting occasion.

Submission on EPA Act Changes presented on 31st March 2017

Consultant Warwick Giblin of Oz Environmental assisted the Association with the preparation of our submission to Department of Planning on the poposed changes to the Environment Assessment and Planning (EPA) Act on how it may affect your LGA.

The Association presented its submission on 31st March 2017, commenting on the proposed changes to the EPA Act and this has been forwarded separately by email for your information and posted on the DPE and AMRC websites.

The documents referred to can be accessed by going to the Department of Planning and Environment website:-http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au and look at legislative updates, consultation periods, topics and submission dates, etc.

Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

The next meeting of the VPAWP has been put on hold until meetings with the Chairs of NSW Minerals Council and AMRC and Executive Officers and Working Party are held to discuss differences in the negotiations on the VPA plus working closely on Resources for Regions eligibility criteria and other matters of interest.  Suggested date is 28th April in Sydney, yet to be confirmed.

There is still more to do with a cents per tonne model by the AMRC versus the NSWMC worker domicile model and clarity on the use of IPART as an umpire, when are they involved, who pays and the legal substance of the documents, which needs to be agreed to by the parties and to fit in with with NSW State Government changes, so busy times ahead getting this sorted.

In discussions with NSWMC, they are keen to meet and dates are being considered for late April and prior to that have requested that the VPAWP prepare a written proposal on matters to consider at that meeting which will include the above plus other issues such as Resources for Regions grants only be allocated to members of AMRC and so forth.

The VPAWP is to meet beforehand with the AMRC Chair to develop the items and arguments for alternate models to the NSWMC preferred worker domicile model and other matters of interest outlined.

Resources for Regions Advisory Group (RFRAG)

Clr Hasler attended another RFRAG meeting on 16th March 2017 and when he reports back to delegates in May at the Broken Hill meeeting, the results of his submission to them on the proposed changes and reactions from staff to his questions will be outlined.

When his submission and questions, answers are to hand they will be forwarded to all delegates.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP)

At the March 2017 meeting of AMRC, it was requested that the Executive Officer make enquiries as to the status of an AMRC delegate being represented on this panel and the background to it. Preliminary enquiries and minutes have revealed that it appears that the panel has been established to independently review projects being funded by the NSW State government for projects such as Resources for Regions and Water and Waste Water backlog Program for Infrastructure NSW, and other infrastructure projects, etc.

Documentation from the minutes of 19th May 2016 in AMRC records reveal that the panel at the time consisted of Roger Fletcher (Chair), Fiona Simson (ex Clr Liverpool Plains Shire Council and National Farmers Federation), Jenny Davis (?), Derek Schoen (NSW Farmers), Richie Williamson (?), Stephen Galilee (NSWMC), Don Tydd (AMRC), Chris Hanger (NSW Department of Industry), Naomi Dinnen(?) and Ray Calligeros OCM (Probity Audit).

Enquiries are continuing as to the background, status and if an AMRC delegate is to be part of this panel. Delegates will be updated in due course.

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, etc.

Changes to delegates has been rectified and if there are any other discrepancies or ideas on its format please contact the Executive Officer who will organise to adjust the details and consider all options.

Photographs will be changed as they evolve such as a photo of chair Shinton and Deputy Chair Connor with Shadow Minister Adam Searle at the meeting on 2nd March 2017.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

A working party has been established to review the 2013 – 2016 Strategic Framework.

The chair and convener will be AMRC Deputy Chair Coal Cr Chris Connor, the members of the working party appointed on 2nd March 2017 are:-

  • Cr Melanie Dagg, Cessnock City Council
  • Cr Michael Banasik, Wollondilly Shire Council
  • Cr James Nolan, Broken Hill City Council
  • Glen Wilcox, Lachlan Shire Council
  • Jason Linnane, Singleton Shire Council

A lot of preliminary information was presented to the Executive Committee on 1st March 2017 by the Executive Officer to assist the working party. A draft will be presented to the August Ordinary meeting in Sydney.

Related Matters of Interest

DPE Social Impact Assessment – Draft Guidelines for State Significant mining, petroleum production and extractive industry development

Warwick Giblin of Oz Environmental has sent an email attaching submissions from Yancoal, NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) and Muswellbrook Shire Council to the AMRC Executive Committee members, in relation to the above Department of Planning and Environment public exhibition documents and whilst all submissions are all on the DPE portal, the Executive Officer has copies of these documents, if you would like to have them forwarded.

Yancoal are supportive of meaningful engagement but are concerned about the proposed role of the community being more heavily involved in setting the parameters of the assessment process for State Significant Developments (SSD’S) when the specialists in the DPE should be dealing with the issues raised and not giving more responsibility to the community to be involved.

NSWMC shared the view of Yancoal but went further and wanted the community being involved deleted from the Guidelines and an assurance given that the DPE staff had adequate skills to be able to assess the Social Impacts Assessment and more scenarios included on how it will all work.

NSWMC argue that mining developments do not displace significant numbers of people in NSW, the displacement is minmal and dispersed and have obviously not considered what happened to Dunedoo with the buy up of farms, families left town never to return and the mine did not proceed!

Muswellbrook Shire Council put forward similar arguments to that of the Association and pushed the argument that the affectations on the social fabric of the communities involved needed closer consideration.

Executive Committee member Cr Owen Hasler from Gunnedah Shire Council has forwarded these comments on the aforementioned submissions for delegates information:

Dear All,

I found these three documents very interesting and reflect my experience both on the Working Party and as the Resources Advisory Forum representative.

To my mind it is clear that Yancoal is driving the Minerals Council position which says, in my interpretation, the following:

1) The Preliminary Assessment Guidelines are excessive!!

2) There should be a standard form of SEARS (Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements) for SIA.

3) Community selected Peer Reviewers is impractical and unlikely to increase community confidence!!

4) DPE trained staff should have increased training and conduct Peer Reviews (and when such a review is required needs to be addressed in the guidelines which is a reasonable suggestion).

5) Recommendation page 11 – potentially affected people, they question this interpretation.

The position from Yancoal is as follows:

1) DPE best custodians of the Peer Review process-best positioned to make decisions!!

2) Timing of PEA (Preliminary Environmental Assessment) – should be no change.

3) What is the community?? I see some validity in this question.

4) Measuring sentiment – questions how this can be achieved.

5) Expectations of engagement – don’t like the example.

Basically they don’t like the changes!!

The Muswellbrook Shire Councils submission  – is, in my opinion, an excellent submission reflecting the great deal of experience they have had in this regard.

SUGGESTION: that these three submissions are provided to our delegates/ member councils for their information.

I know that the submissions are available on the website but how many will access such without a prompt. I believe that by providing these submissions we are more likely to have an informed membership”.

Renewable Energy Targets and Energy Supply Options:

Headlined ‘Renewable Energy Supply boosted but short of Target’ The NSW governments Renewable Energy Action Plan 2016 shows NSW drew 14% of its energy sources from renewable sources, 7% from gas and 79% from coal in 2015.

The article mentions NSW and SA energy policies and comments from the Prime Minister on wind generators, closure of Hazelwood in Victoria which supplies energy to NSW, AGL plans to close Liddell at Muswellbrook in NSW in 2022, commments from NSW Energy Minister Harwin seeking a Federal governement National Energy Policy position to guide and assist the states to have secure energy sources to meet community demand. Adam Searle, opposition energy spokesman said the figure exposes NSW households and businesses to an energy crisis because all of the main current power sources – coal fired power stations that now provide 80% of energy will be closed in 20 years.

(Source : SMH 14TH March 2017, see website www.smh.com.au )

Fears of Job Losses over Gas supply price increases

Brickworks have indicated that with a 79% jump in gas prices, brought on by its scarcity, was affecting production in NSW, possible closure of plants and a loss of jobs likely to be the result. Options are or them to move their plants overseas. They have commented on their concerns publicly criticising the NSW state government for their inaction on not pushing for more gas exploration and mining to address the situation for business and residents.

(Source : Daily Telegraph 3rd March 2017, see website www.dailytelegraph.com.au )

Solar Farms for the West

It was reported in the Nyngan Observer 22 March 2017 that proposed solar power farms could generate sustainable power and jobs for Western NSW communities including Gilgandra, Warren and Walgett The NSW Minister for Resources, Energy and Utilities, Hon Don Harwin has announced that 12 proposed new solar farms are in the “state planning pipeline”.

In the article, the Minister for Planning and Housing, Hon Anthony Roberts also indicated that the proposed Sunraysia Solar Farm at Balranald would produce double the solar energy at Nyngan which currently produces 100megawatts for 32,000 homes. He further indicated that ‘the aim of the NSW government is for a  secure, reliable affordable and clean energy future and projects such as Gilgandra Solar Farm, Nevertire Solar Farm and Walgett Solar Farm are great opportunities that enable the state government to deliver on this”.

There are eleven solar farms alredy approved since 2011 which will generate 660 megawatts for 200,000 homes and another twelve proposed solar farms would generate more than 1000 megawatts for 365,000 homes. These will result in short term jobs in the construction phase and ongoing maintenance phase in towns such as Gilgandra, Hillston, Narrabri, Armidale, Coleambally, Gulgong, Walgett, Jemalong, Balranald, Nyngan and Hay.

(Source: Nyngan Observer 22nd March 2017, see www.nynganobserver.com.au )

Expansion of the Snowy Hydro Scheme

The Prime Minister has announced recently a $2billion grand plan for expanding the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electricty Scheme by another 50% to introduce a 2000 megawatt battery, a quarter bigger than the doomed Hazelwwod power plant, to smooth out supply as more and more solar and wind energy plants are introduced intermittently and uncoordinated without any real plan.

With the nation faced with rising prices for energy options, respective state governments failing to guarantee energy supplies for their constituents, bad publicity about the options v the current siituation, no direction nationally, etc the Federal government comes out and makes this announcement as part of the fix.

(Source: SMH 18-19 March 2017, see www.smh.com.au )

Development Assessment Best Practice Guide

The Department Planning and Environment have released the Development and Assessment Best Practice Guide to help council’s meet the government’s ambition of 90% development approvals  being determined within 40 days. The guide was tested as a pilot with selected councils and consists of best practice procedures from councils that met high levels of service to council customers. It comes on top of signicant changes being introduced to planning in NSW by the state government.

(Source: SMH 21ST March 2017, see www.smh.com.au )

Power Station for Boggabri?

The town of Boggabri was suggested as the ideal spot for a new power plant because of the high quality – coal available at its door step at Maules Creek, Boggabri and Turrawan, and the current national discussion about the nation’s energy situation, by  a regional Councillor.

The State Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries indicated he is against the idea as he said NSW was moving towards a better mix of energy sources and another coal fired power station would be a step in the wrong direction. Mr Humphries said “we are transitioning into renewables and alternative energy sources like gas, that is largely where it is going – all of the 12 solar farms we have on the books, four are in Barwon. We have a small gas fired generator out here at Narrabri, another one of those may be an option down the track to help with peak load demand “

The Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton in the same article said “he was open to an investigation on the possibility. I would support the concept if it became a possibility and at this stage I am keeping an open mind. A significant issue to be looked at would be cost of connecting to the grid”.

(Source: Northern Daily Leader 30th March 2017, see www.northermdailyleader.com.au )

Easter Break

Easter is upon us and in the middle of the school holidays, so take care on the road, don’t eat too many bilbies, enjoy the festivities and celebrate this special religious occasion with your family and friends.

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.

Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.su or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636

Greg Lamont  – Executive Officer

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 28th February 2017

Introduction

Here is the February 2017 Newsletter for your information, please circulate this to your fellow councillors and senior staff so they can appreciate and understand the excellent work the Association and you are doing on behalf of your council and community with regard to mining related matters.

Busy Time for AMRC Delegates

Delegates, we hope you are enjoying your role as a Councillor or Senior staff member whilst undertaking the ardous tasks of reviewing your Community Strategic Plans, meeting with your constituents, engaging with them and seeking their views on what they expect from your Council for your Delivery Program and Resources Strategy plus undertake your normal roles! Phew, there is a lot on for everyone. “You only get out what you put in” I heard someone say the other day, keep up the good work and the results will come.

Community Strategic Plan, Delivery Program and Resourcing Strategy

Don’t forget to ensure your participation in the Association of Mining Related Councils as a delegate is part of your Delivery Program four year plan actions, to ensure you can represent and advocate on behalf of your communities at the highest level – with NSW Minerals Council, State Ministers, Shadow Ministers and their Executive staff and other important stakeholders already on our agenda to meet and outline what we are about this year.

Expanding the Association

With new delegates, the setting up of working parties on the VPA, the Strategic Plan Review, meetings to be set up with Premier, Deputy Premier, Ministers, Shadow Ministers, Opposition leaders, leaders of minority parties, etc plus the enthusiastic input by delegates the whole ‘mojo” of ARMRC is reaching new levels.

There has been increased interest out there in the state of NSW for Councils to join our Association as mining and renewable energy projects emerge in their Local Government areas. The more members and increased coverage of the state we have in our Association, the greater the strength of our voice and the more likelihood of our communitiy issues being heard and addressed at the top tables.

If you have or hear of any interest please let the Executive Officer know for he and the Chair to chase up. There have been several councils identified to date that have attended our meetings in the past or enquired of delegates and need following up, which they will be visited in the near future.

Ordinary Meeting in Sydney 2nd March 2017

For those of you that attended the meeting in Sydney on 2nd March 2017, thank you for making the effort on a wet rainy day and a big thank you to those that sent their apologies.

Because of all the busy schedules of councils, we need your help as we still need an idea of who is attending the meeting, which affects the catering costs as you know these days are usually signed off on estimated numbers weeks before and this could be significant if the majority of Council delegates don’t attend. If you can, please have your Executive Assistants let the Executive Officer know when you can’t attend.

There is also the issue of having a quorum. Our constitution states that a quorum is more than half the number of member councils in attendance i.e. at least 11 councils to be represented is the quorum. If not present, then the meeting is deferred for an hour and after that set down at a later date and place by the Chair or the Executive deals with the business, hopefully we will never get to this. I look forward to seeing you all at future meetings for your important input and debate.

Unfortunately, the speakers invited to the meeting on 2nd March 2017, could not attend and offered their apologies – the CEO NSW Minerals Council (Steve Galiliee), the Minister for Planning and Environmental Services (the Hon Andrew Roberts) and the Minister for Resources and Energy (the Hon Don Harwin).

However we were fortunate to have the Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy and Industrial Relations, MLC Adam Searle attend in their place and spoke with delegates about Planning, Resources for Regions, Renewable Energy and Mining matters generally.

Adam acknowledged that there is a lot on the government agenda at the moment and  whilst he wasn’t totally abreast of all of the issues and changes with the recent portfolio allocations, he encouraged the Assocition to pursue all political avenues to address our concerns with VPA’S, Resources for Regions, etc and to strongly advocate on behalf of councils with mining related issues particularly in light of the upcoming state bi – elections on 8th April 2017 and later in the year amalgamated council elections.

Next Meeting to be in Broken Hill 11/12th May 2017

The next Executive Committee and Ordinary meetings of AMRC is in Broken Hill on 11th/12th May 2017.

The Executive Committee will meet in the morning of 11th May 2017. A mine tour is usually organised by the host council after lunch on 11th (Cr Jim Nolan and/or General Manager James Roncon to assist), networking dinner that night with Ordinary meeting next morning on the 12th, delegates depart after lunch. Hope to see you all there, Broken Hill has a lot of mining history of national interest, should be an informative and interesting occasion.

The meeting on 2nd March 2017 at Rydges Sydney Central was attended by delegates from 11 councils with new delegates from Cessnock City Council (Cr Jay Suvaal and Cr Melanie Dagg) and Narromine Shire Council (Cr Col Hamilton), in the words of an attendee ….I have been to the last four meetings of Association and this was the best I siad why, he said because it was participative, relevant and informative. See you in Broken Hill.

Submission on SIA Guidelines presented on 3rd March 2017

Consultant Warwick Giblin of Oz Environmental assisted the Association with the preparation of our submission to Department of Planning on the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) of the Draft Guidelines for State Significant Mining, Petroleum, Production and Extraction Industry development as to how it may affect your LGA.

The Association presented its submission on 3rd March 2017, commenting on the SIA proposed changes to the Guidelines and this will be forwarded sepaerately by email for your information and posted on the DPE and AMRC websites.

The documents referred to can be accessed by going to the Department of Planning and Environment website:-http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au and look at legislative updates, consultation periods, topics and submission dates, etc.

The LGNSW submission on the same topic has been provided to the Association this will also be forwarded under a seperate email.

Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

The next meeting of the VPAWP has been put on hold until meetings with the Chairs of NSW Minerals Council and AMRC and Executive Officers and Working Party are held to discuss differences in the negotiations on the VPA plus working closely on Resources for Regions eligibility criteria.  

There is still more to do with a cents per tonne model by the AMRC versus the NSWMC worker domicile model and clarity on the use of IPART as an umpire, when are they involved, who pays and the legal substance of the documents, which needs to be agreed to by the parties and to fit in with with NSW State Government changes, so busy times ahead getting this sorted.

Resources for Regions Advisory Group (RFRAG)

At the meeting in Sydney of RFRAG on 23rd January 2017, the DPE staff presented the proposed changes to the EPA Act 1979 and documents on exhibition. Clr Hasler has raised questions for the DPE staff to answer in due course on the Social Impact Assessment Draft Guidelines and State Significant Developments, in relation to the following key issues:- more and meaningful consultation on proposals, a requirement on major developers to liaise with community and councils, the content of the documentation being more prescriptive, for the developer to demonstrate how they have consulted and finally with the DPE to lead the consultation process for transparency purposes.

The EIS is usually a very large document and absorbs a lot of a council’s resources to assess without compensation. This is a key point in the submission to DPE on new VPA Policy proposals submitted on 3rd March 2017.

Clr Hasler will no doubt keep us informed when his responses are received and he reports to delegates after their meeting on 16th. Any documentation referred to Executive Officer by Clr Hasler will be forwarded to delegates in due course on these matters.

The DPE have extended submissions on the EPA Act changes until end of March 2017.

Website

The website is a work in progress and the focus will be about getting more relevant information on the site such as minutes, submissions, etc. Changes to delegates has been rectified and if there are any other discrepancies  or ideas on its format please contact the Executive Officer who will organise to adjust the details and consider all options.

Photographs will be changed as they evolve such as a photo of chair Shinton and Deputy Chair Connor with Shadow Minister Adam Searle at the meeting on 2nd March 2017.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

A working party has been established to review the 2013 – 2016 Strategic Framework.

The chair and convener will be AMRC Deputy Chair Coal Cr Chris Connor, the members of the working party appointed on 2nd March 2017 are:-

  • Cr Melanie Dagg, Cessnock City Council
  • Cr Michael Banasik, Wollondilly Shire Council
  • Cr James Nolan, Broken Hill City Council
  • Glen Wilcox, Lachlan Shire Council
  • Jason Linnane, Singleton Shire Council

Cr Connor will be in contact by electronic means with working party members in due course.

A lot of preliminary information was presented to the Executive Committee on 1st March 2017 by the Executive Officer to assist the working party. A draft will be presented to the August Ordinary meeting in Sydney.

Related Matters of Interest

Coal Seam Gas:

Santos have submitted its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Narrabri Gas Project to the state government for assessment. A community information session is to be held in Narrabri at the Crossing Theatre on Thursday 16th March 2017,  2pm – 7pm for members of the community to ask questions of technical experts present on drilling, geology, field operations,environment and water. Further information on the EIS can be found on the following websites:-

 (Source : Advertisment in The Courier, Narrabri and DPE website)

New Mine to open east of Armidale

It was reported in the Northern Daily Leader on 3rd March 2017 that a new underground antimony mine 23 kilometres east of Armidale at Clark’s Gully on the Waterfall Way has gained conditional approval from Armidale Regional Council .(Refer www.northerndailyleader.com.au)

Greens Coal Ban Plan

 It has been reported in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on 3rd March that the Greens are planning to scrap NSW’S $25 billion coal industry with a new policy focussing on de -licensing thermal coal operators. The Greens say the policy is necessary to address climate change. The Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Don Harwin indicated that the proposals would threaten energy security whilst the NSW Minerals Council CEO, Steve Gailiiee responded that it was a recipe for disaster and NSW could not afford to lose jobs and lights out across the state. Interesting times ahead.(Refer www.dailytelegraph.com.au)

Shenhua Exploration Licence in doubt

Shenhua requested in 2016 to be exempted from having to meet the extension to their exploration licence in the Breeza region near Gunnedah and Quirindi, which expired in October 2016. Minister for Resources and Energy is being asked for an update on its status by the Caroona Coal Action Group. The headlines in the local press are casting doubts on the mine getting the go ahead for the coal mine proposed for the Liverpool Plains. (Refer  Namoi Valley Independent website for details on article on 2nd March 2017 on www.nvi.com.au)

Moree Solar Farm

Moree Solar Farm was officially inaugurated in Moree on Friday 3rd March 2017 after construction commenced on the 56 megawatt facility. It features 222,880 solar PV panels which can generate 145GWh on energy annually. It is expected to supply enough energy to power more than 24,000 Australian households annually. Further details can be obtained form Moree Plains Shire Council or Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).(Refer details Nortern Daily Leader 4th March 2017 on www.norterndailyleader.com.au)

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.

Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.su or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636

Greg Lamont – Executive Officer

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 22nd DECEMBER 2016

Introduction

Delegates, continuing and new, welcome to the Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC).

This is our first newsletter, provided for you with an initial focus on providing an update on what has been happening in recent times during 2016 and providing information sources and links for your areas of interest. It is more like an update report rather than a newsletter but here goes.

There is plenty to be done to ensure the Association achieves its objectives in accordance with the Constitution, whereby you as a delegate and your Council are satisfied with the return on your investment. If not then please let the Chair, Executive Officer or any of the Executive know your views.

This newsletter will initially be in a pdf format with work to be done with CIBIS International (our original web page provider from Newcastle or another entity), to set up an online Newsletter run through the website for subscribers to comment and have more relevant links and information for delegates. I commend you to have a look at the website for background to AMRC and you will see there are alot of changes to be carried out.

Our Executive Officer

Don Tydd, former Executive Officer of AMRC, left the AMRC effective from 1st September 2016, after four years as the Executive Officer, to pursue other interests. The General Manager and staff of Warrumbungle Shire Council kept the function going on a shoestring basis until the new Executive Officer commenced and they are to be congratulated for the excellent job they have done.

Greg Lamont started with AMRC on 14th November 2016, as an independent contractor through his consultancy company to provide the suite of services required for the role of Executive Officer, including the secretariat and finance functions. He is on an annual performance based contract with Key Performance Indicators to meet as set by the Executive Committee on 8th December 2016.

Greg was one of two delegates to AMRC from Narromine Shire Council (as the General Manager) and had a strong involvement in AMRC matters as a member of the Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party and a keen contributor on the development of the Strategic Plan, Conduct of Elections, Expressions of Interest for the establishment of a panel of environmental consultants to provide expert comment to AMRC, when required.

Our Constitution

The Constitution for AMRC is on the webpage but may need updating to reflect the conduct of election options and quorum changes approved in 2016 ie a quorum for Ordinary meetings to be a majority of members being present, ie if 20 members AMRC, then it is 11 members represented at the meeting for a quorum, rather than the number of delegates attending.

There is potential for the AMRC Constitution to be reviewed to expand the functions of AMRC to embrace renewable energy developments that may be established in your Local Government Area (LGA). Any changes are up to delegates to consider and agree upon in 2017. And a formal process to follow to change the Constitution. Food for thought when wind farming, solar and coal seam gas are becoming bigger issues in NSW and maybe your LGA.

Our Executive Committee

The Chair of the AMRC Executive Committee is the Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Clr Peter Shinton. He is assisted by two Deputy Chairs in Clr Chris Connor, Wollongong City Council (Coal) and Clr Lilliane Brady OAM, Cobar Shire Council (Metaliferrous – Gold, Copper, etc) and the Executive Committee members in Clr Owen Hasler, Gunnedah Shire Council, Clr Hollee Jenkins, Singleton Shire Council and Clr Jim Nolan, Broken Hill City Council. Elections are held annually. Meetings are held at least four times a year and generally within two weeks of the Ordinary meeting of all delegates of the AMRC.

Our Ordinary Meetings

Ordinary meetings are held quarterly and localities set at the Annual General Meeting in November each year. Next meeting will be in Sydney on 2nd March 2017 at a venue to be agreed upon by the Chair and Executive Officer. The Executive Committee will meet the afternoon before on 1st March 2017. Next meeting thereafter will be in Broken Hill in May, Sydney in August then Singleton in November 2017, dates to be finalised by Executive Committee in due course. Speakers are still to be finalised for 2nd March 2017 and a NSW Government Cabinet re-shuffle is mooted for January 2017, which may impact on the availbility of  a Minister of the Crown to attend the meeting in Sydney in March 2017, however relevant speakers will be sourced.

Our Webpage

Whilst there is a lot of background information in the headings on the webpage, as alluded to earlier in this newsletter, there is still a lot of information that needs to be updated since new delegates were appointed and AMRC elections held in November 2016. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good history and information on the webpage with the potential to provide more relevant details for delegates and an opportunity for you to comment or present or share any mining related items of interest at anytime. You can subscribe to the website.

These changes will be done as a matter of course and when the General Manager of CIBIS (current provider) or another entity and the Executive Officer meet and agree on the level of service, processes and changes, in consultation with the Chair, this will occur but may not happen until early 2017 given the current festive time of the year and other changeover priorities.

The webpage does provide some links and since first established in 2012 these need to be broadened to reflect the relationships AMRC have and will need to build on to meet the challenges in a changing society.

Our Future –The Strategic Framework 2013 – 16

The AMRC met in 2013 to chart a course for its future development and developed a Strategic Directions Statement in the form of a Strategic Framework for 2013 – 2016, as a catalyst for achievement, relevance and ongoing contribution to member councils and their communities in the years ahead. The Strategic Framework consists of a Vision, Mission, Role and Strategic Initiatives to build member value and capacity plus strengthen the Association’s advocacy ability and to refine our structures to enhance the effectiveness and response of AMRC.

Consequently, areas of focus and actions were identifed to achieve this. It is now an opportune time with new delegates, a new Executive Officer and a changing landscape with mining to revisit this Strategic Framework for AMRC. A sub committee was formed to do this however the indecisiveness of amalgamations in NSW in 2016 and future of some member Councils, delayed the process. It is proposed that a workshop will be held in 2017 to do this.

In the meantime a copy of the Strategic Framework for 2103 – 2106 is not on the website so it has been attached to the email for this newsletter for your information.

Our Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

The AMRC is represented on a Working Party with representatives of the NSW Minerals Council and their consultant, developing an improved process for the creation of a flexible model for a Voluntary Planning Agreement (Planning Agreement) that can be struck between a Council and the developer as a miner or otherwise. The impacts of the development on the infrastructure of a council and the social impacts on the community are considered as part of the development process and appropriate compensation is made by the developer to the council.

This is not meant to be a barrier to the development but to get agreement up front with the support of the Department of Planning and Environment as part of the approval process with IPART as an adjudicator if agreement is not reached or their is an impasse.

Delegates involved from AMRC are Clr Owen Hasler (Gunnedah Shire Council), Clr Hollee Jenkins (Singleton Shire Council), Mr Steve Loane, (General Manager, Warrumbungle Shire Council) and the AMRC Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, with assistance from Consultant Warwick Giblin (Oz Environmental).

NSW Minerals Council representatives are Greg Sullivan, Director Policy – NSW Minerals Council, Dave O’Brien (Glencore Mining), Mark Jacobs (Yancoal Mining) and Barb Crossley, Consultant assisting (Umwelt).

The VPAWP is at a stage where there is agreement on the wording of the Memorandum of Understanding, a Framework for Voluntary Planning Agreement Negotiations, a Roads Infrastructure Impact Calculator, a Timeframe Schematic from start to finish with a “stop the clock” mechanism if issues arise. The finalisation of a Social Impacts Calculator is still about 80% agreed to and an umpire process is also to be finalised.

The VPAWP has also considered the DPE Deputy Secretary’s VPA Draft Practice Note and Draft Ministerial Direction Papers (referred to below) when considering the content of the VPA format. AMRC has the support of the Minister and Senior Staff of DPE with our position and have put $10,000 into assisting with the cost of the Consultant.

Another meeting has been set down for 30th January 2017 to hopefully finalise the project.

Our Other Matters of Interest

No doubt at your respective Councils you are inundated with information from LGNSW, Office of Local Government, Department of Planning and Environment, other government and non government industry organisations, etc and items relevant to you as a delegate to AMRC may have been missed, so rather than send a mass of emails as these matters arise they will be placed in the monthly ewsletter and forwarded in a package for you to read and assimilate the information.

If any queries you can ask your General Manager and/or Director Planning and Environmental staff at your council for clarification on any of them. So I will list what has come to our attention in recent times as follows, (there may be others):-

  • Revised Community Consultative Committee Guidelines from DPE (November 2016) that will apply to all committees, see their website planning.nsw.gov.au for them;
  • DPE Compliance Report (October 2016) on all major mining projects in NSW, refer to planning.nsw.gov.au/major projects, includes infrastructure, mines, quarries and industry – worth a read to see how the regulatory process operates in NSW;
  • The Australia Institute held a forum in Narrabri on 29th November 2016 (that the Executive Officer attended) on The Economic Impacts of CSG: How will it affect you? The data provided was based on the impacts of CSG in QLD and case studies were provided by a businessman and President of the Chamber of Commerce from Miles in Qld and an academic economist. Delegates can email Mark Ogge from the Australia Institute for the relevant research papers by emailing to:- mark@tai.org.au The Executive Officer has a copy of the paper referred to at the presentation, if interested is more information on this forum;
  • The DPE is holding a series of information sessions in regional communities to explain the Draft Guidelines on Social Impact Assessments for State Significant Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industry Developments. Details are on planning.nsw.gov.au website. Dates and locations for workshops are Mudgee 30th January 2107, Singleton 31st January 2017, Gunnedah 6th February 2017 and Wollongong 8th February 2017. Submissions are due by 3rd March 2017 by Councils;
  • The Western Research Institute, Bathurst has recently announced a new Inland Research Fund 9December 2016), to support high quality policy research that will assist inland communities and promote investment in inland economies (including mining) and requested AMRC forward this information to delegates. Contact is Dale Curran or Chair Mark Burdack and details are on their website at wri.org.au;
  • NSW Farmers has launched its Landholder Guide to Mining and CSG in NSW (December 2016), which is a comprehensive resource designed to be a one stop shop for farmers. The Guide provides an up to date outline of legislation and information about mining and coal seam gas activity. It is designed to show farmers where to start with extractive industries, breaks down jargon and aimed to improve farmers awareness and improve their capacity to negotiate land access arrangements. The Guide can be accessed from miningandcsginfo.org/landholder-guide from NSW Farmers website or farmers can get a free copy posted to them by calling NSW Farmers on 1300 794 000;
  • In north western NSW newspapers in November 2017, (Northern Daily Leader and Namoi Valley Independent) there has been a lot of commentary on independent audits being conducted by Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the results are being reviewed but have high lighted concerns about air qualty in the Namoi Valley coal mining areas and are calling on the NSW state government to investigate the situation;
  • In December 2017, the NSW Environment Minister was quoted in the aforementioned newspapers that his department will look at the Namoi Valley air quality and dust issues as part of a state wide approach under the Clean Air for NSW Plan. The Plan will look at air quality monitoring data and processes in Namoi Valley and if needed will look at replicating what they have done to address it in the Hunter Valley. This is where the Environment Protection Authority monitors air pollution around the area’s mines. The Plan should be finished in 2017, refer their website for more details on this;
  • Many articles during November and December in most newspapers in NSW have been circulating about Santos and the Coal Seam Gas issues at Wilga Park in the Pilliga Forest, their expansion program, reactions from environmentalists and residents about the potential for gas leaks, impacts, royalties, etc. Further details on controls and these relevant matters are outlined on the Division of Resources and Energy website, newspapers and environmental group webpages.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Message from the Chair

On behalf of the Executive Committee of the AMRC, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all and your families the very best for Christmas and hope you all have a very healthy, safe and productive New Year.

We look forward to working with you during 2017 to make the Association a more responsive and effective advocate for our respective communities.

Contact

If you have any queries in relation to this newsletter please do not hesitate to contact myself 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.

Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservice.com.au or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636

Greg Lamont                                                                                      Clr Peter Shinton

Executive Officer                                                                               Chair

Mining related councils keep leadership team

The Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) Annual General Meeting was hosted by Cabonne Shire Council in central west NSW on Friday, with the leadership team re-elected unopposed. Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton reflected on a highly productive year, which featured direct communication with relevant Ministers and Shadow Ministers (at the Association’s quarterly meetings).

“As the peak body representing mining affected councils in NSW, the AMRC has achieved the advocacy influence it deserves and has been addressing critical issues that can overwhelm a council in isolation,” said Chair Shinton. Chairing these meetings can be challenging but progress for our communities is rewarding.”

The Association of Mining Related Councils tour group, in front of the Cadia Valley Operations gold mine tailings dam.

“Member councils can vary greatly in their views on mining. We are about getting the best outcomes for our communities. A constructive approach has been recognised as the best way forward,” he said.

Councils from Wollongong to Narrabri were represented by councillors and senior staff for the AGM and quarterly meeting. Cr. Chris Connor is Deputy Mayor of Wollongong City Council, representing Local Government Areas affected by coal mining, while the other Deputy Chair is Cr. Lilliane Brady OAM, Mayor of Cobar Shire Council, who represents metalliferous mining areas. Meanwhile, Executive positions are held by Cr. John Martin OAM (Singleton Council), Gunnedah Shire Mayor Owen Hasler and Cr. Sharon Wilcox (Cabonne Shire Council).

The meeting looked at such issues as roads, Voluntary Planning Agreements and strategic planning for 2016 to ensure recent levels of Ministerial communication continue.

Delegates at the AMRC meeting were taken on a guided tour of the Newcrest Cadia Valley Operations gold mine prior to the meeting. One of the largest gold mines in the southern hemisphere, Cadia proudly undertakes numerous community engagement and support initiatives. “Like what we saw in the Northparkes Mine and in our visit to the Bland Shire, Cadia has worked to develop genuine relationships with Cabonne and Blayney Shire Councils,” said Chair Shinton. “We drove through an intersection on our way to the Cadia mine site which Cabonne Shire Council AMRC delegate Cr. Sharon Wilcox explained was identified as an accident black spot; that intersection has just seen responsive action from the Cadia mine, in association with the council.”

Delighted to host the AMRC meeting, Cabonne Shire Mayor Cr Ian Gosper described the Cadia mine as a good corporate citizen. “A group of landholders meet regularly with the Cadia Valley Operations team. We have council representation on that committee. Cadia supports the community and funds a lot of infrastructure in the area.”

Newcrest Cadia Valley Operations gold mine Approvals Manager Andrew Wannan, Association of Mining Related Councils’ Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Cabonne Shire Council AMRC Executive Member, Cr. Sharon Wilcox.

In February 2016, the AMRC was given a presentation by Western Research Institute CEO Danielle Ranshaw, outlining what her report “Economic, social & community impacts of Newcrest Mining Limited, Cadia Valley Operations” entailed, together with the outcomes and conclusions from it. The in-depth study saw the mining operation identify needs and voluntarily make additional investments into the local community.”

According to Chair Shinton, there is much to learn from the Cadia story. “There are cases where mining operations are positive stories and all involved are doing there upmost to do the right thing. Cadia was prepared to invest in research and academic expertise to analyse socio-economic impacts, like the AMRC has with its Panel of Experts,” continued Chair Shinton. “We also heard of extensive environmental monitoring and thorough rehabilitation plans. I would hope that other mines and the State Government could learn from the positive stories, as well as the negatives.”

Download media release: Mining related councils keep leadership team (pdf)

Resources for Regions commitments applauded

The Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) has applauded a commitment delivered in person by the Hon. John Barilaro, NSW Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Skills, and Minister for Small Business, that the contentious Resources for Regions funding program is being reviewed and there is a deadline for the process.

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Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, the Hon. John Barilaro, NSW Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Skills, and Minister for Small Business and AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

Once eligible for the program, mining affected Councils can apply for multi-million dollar grants that capacity-build for regional development and provide additional aid to Councils where mining impacts on local infrastructure are a financial burden.

“I heard from the Association of Mining Related Councils some of the issues and concerns around the Resources for Regions criteria. So, I’ll be taking that input on board,” said Minister Barilaro. “We have made a commitment that we are working through the criteria and that we have an appropriate budget allocation.”

“We have also committed that before Christmas of this year, we will be releasing the new Resources for Regions program; what it will look like and outline the process going forward.”

After addressing the Association, the Minister took part in a frank Q&A session, which ranged from mining impacts to the cutbacks and restructure of TAFE, with grave concerns raised from the Bland Shire.

“It is always good to contribute to a forum and meet with stakeholders who are passionate about their communities. This Association does exactly that; it brings everybody together in relation to key mining related issues, be they from industry or the skills portfolio, in my capacity as Minister,” he said. “As a collective they were able to convey to me some of the issues and impediments where communities have been affected by mining. We recognise the need for those communities to maximise their benefits from that particular industry.”

The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton was delighted to hear the Minister’s Resources for Regions commitments. “We are very happy to hear that new criteria will be released before Christmas,” he said. “We applaud the Minister’s foreshadowing of the broadening of the criteria. A number of AMRC member Councils, such as Gunnedah, have been greatly frustrated by repeated failure to meet narrow, flawed, ever-changing criteria.”

“Minister Barilaro also commented on how he has not been happy about how other State Government Departments were using the Resources for Regions fund to top up their own budgets, when Councils and other people in the regions have other ideas. That was extremely refreshing to hear because it is something that the Association has been complaining about to various Ministers in recent years,” he said.

“In one of the first Resources for Regions funding grants, a hospital emergency unit refurbishment clearly should have been funded by the appropriate Department or Treasury, not Resources for Regions.”

While commending the NSW Government for consulting with the Association and committing to improve Resources for Regions, Cr. Shinton said there has been at least four generations of the program in a short period of time, with inconsistency and shifting goal posts among the big criticisms. “Towards continuity, it’s about time that we had a Minister who stays in the position for longer than a matter of months. Once a Minister is ensconced in a portfolio and gets a good feel for it, I think they should be left there – that would make a big difference.”

Download media release: Resources for Regions commitments applauded (pdf)