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)

Mining related councils get expertise equipped

Local Government representatives from throughout NSW converged on the State Government’s Country Embassy in the heart of Sydney’s CBD late last week for what was considered a highly productive Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) meeting. The Hon. John Barilaro, NSW Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Skills, and Minister for Small Business, as well as the Hon. Rob Stokes, Minister for Planning both attended the meeting.

Cabonne Shire Association of Mining Related Councils delegates, Heather Nicholls and Cr Sharon Wilcox, with Chair Cr Peter Shinton (right), consider a point being made by AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

Cabonne Shire Association of Mining Related Councils delegates, Heather Nicholls and Cr Sharon Wilcox, with Chair Cr Peter Shinton (right), consider a point being made by AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

Council delegates appreciated the opportunity to hear presentations from and asked questions of the two Ministers. It was a two-way street. The delegates heard the latest policy developments and also told the Ministers of issues they are facing, at the coal-face of mining impacts.

Delegates were informed of how, in line with the Association’s strategic plan to equip member councils with know-how resourcing, they now have access to a high-level expert panel of consultants. The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton explained what the initiative has involved. “We advertised for an ‘Expert Panel’ and were pleased to see 43 expressions of interest. They were extremely diverse in size, location and specialisations. Our Executive members interviewed the shortlisted six to select our final four.”

Issues focused at the recent meeting... Association of Mining Related Councils Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Deputy Chair Cr. Chris Connor and Executive Member Cr. John Martin.

Issues focused at the recent meeting… Association of Mining Related Councils Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Deputy Chair Cr. Chris Connor and Executive Member Cr. John Martin.

“This panel will be used whenever the Association or member Councils need expert advice on issues in areas such as planning, environmental assessment, water quality and Aboriginal heritage.” The Warrumbungle Shire Mayor knows from experience how formidable mining related issues and paperwork can be. “When our Council had to assess the application for the Cobbora Coal mine project, it was a massive amount of work and our council’s staff were not experts, with the capacity to challenge the environmental assessment.”

“One of the firms which we selected for empanelment actually offered to put some of their senior people into a council that engages them, to help up-skill the council’s planners. A lot of the environmental assessment material that comes through is considerable in quantity and complexity. You cannot expect council staff to always have the expertise to address every issue, particularly where mining related matters are concerned.”
In the recent past, the Association has produced issues papers in relation to Coal Seam Gas, coal mining and Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPAs). Wollongong City Council’s Special Projects Manager spent a great deal of time on the issue of VPAs for the Association. Our new Expert Panel will see us better equipped to achieve optimal outcomes, without being a drain on Council members’ resources.

Ready access to the independent expert consultancies on our panel will greatly bolster the collective expertise of Local Councils within the Association of Mining Related Councils. “The Expert Panel” is the latest constructive outcome that the AMRC has delivered, beyond advocating, as the peak Local Government representative body in NSW on mining impacts,” Cr. Shinton said.

Cabonne Shire Council (in the State’s Central west) will host the Association’s next meeting, which is to be held on Friday 13 November, 2015.

Download Media Release: Mining related councils get expertise equipped (pdf)

Planning to get mining affected communities a better deal

When a new mining operation is established, a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) can be negotiated between a local council and a mine operator, which can see the mining company contribute millions of dollars annually towards the council’s infrastructure costs. The negotiation process has been a daunting, unstructured challenge for the regional councils of NSW. That is set to change; the Association of Mining Related Councils has been working with the Department of Planning and Environment to help councils to get a better deal for their communities by documenting comprehensive guidelines for the process.

AMRC Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Senior NSW Department of Planning and Environment Staff Alison Frame and Meagan Kanaley, with AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

AMRC Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Senior NSW Department of Planning and Environment Staff Alison Frame and Meagan Kanaley, with AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

The draft Planning Agreement Guidelines for State Significant Mining Projects will be issued in the near future for public comment. “The State Government welcomes and appreciates the input from groups such as the Association of Mining Related Councils to date,” Deputy Secretary – Policy and Strategy at the Department, Alison Frame said.
“The guidelines will outline best practice principles and help to build an understanding about the negotiation process in the context of mining assessment. In particular, the guidelines will assist councils and industry in understanding the steps involved in negotiating a planning agreement.”

State and Local Governments consider Planning Agreements to be an integral part of the planning system in NSW and an important tool in mitigating community concerns about the impacts of a development. “Planning agreements provide a way for councils and mining companies to negotiate flexible outcomes in respect of development contributions.

Because of this, planning agreements can, in certain situations, deliver better outcomes for both mining companies and the community through the delivery of public benefit,” Ms Frame said.

The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton said that negotiating VPAs has been overwhelming for many small, regional councils in the past and it will be a positive step forward when they do not have to reinvent the wheel, if approaching the Planning Agreement process for the first time. “This is
something we lobbied the NSW Government to do and we commend them for building this framework with genuine consultation.”

“With no structure existing, a VPA was difficult to negotiate and delivered uncertain outcomes. If you were lucky you got a good one, if you weren’t, you didn’t. In the Warrumbungle Shire, we worked towards a VPA with a mine that has now been mothballed. We certainly could have done better. I am confident that the new guidelines will facilitate the best possible outcomes from Planning Agreements into the future.”

“These VPAs can be multi-million dollar deals and a council needs to factor in all they can in regards to the impacts the mining operations and the people the mine brings in will have.”

“The planners in the Department now have consulted with us and come back with a first-draft. I was amazed with what they have achieved.”

“Normally, once a VPA has been struck, it is for the life of the mine,” said Cr. Shinton. “You also need to plan for economic and social impacts of a mine closure. If workers have lived in the area for 20-25 years and they disappear suddenly, you’ve got a raft of challenges to deal with, like a big drop in real estate values, which also reduces a council’s revenue,” Cr. Shinton said.

Senior Planning NSW staff updated the Association on their guidelines for Planning Agreements at its last meeting in Quirindi. The next meeting, on Thursday 13 August, in Sydney, will be addressed by NSW Planning Minister, the Hon. Rob Stokes.

For further information, contact AMRC Chair (and Warrumbungle Shire Mayor) Cr Peter Shinton: 0428 255 420 Or Chief Executive Officer, Don Tydd: 02 6775 3844 or 0418 681 320.

Download Media Release: Planning to get mining affected communities a better deal (pdf)

Mining related councils hit hot topics in Liverpool Plains

When the Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) met in Quirindi recently, delegates from member councils around the State took the opportunity to tour contentious sites in the Liverpool Plains Shire. They visited the site of the proposed BHP Billiton Caroona coal mine, which farmers claim would impact on water in one of Australia’s richest agricultural districts. They also visited Whitehaven’s Werris Creek Coal mine, where the principal concern has been reverberations of blasting in nearby Werris Creek. The following day saw a productive meeting, with numerous issues address.

AMRC-Liverpool_Plains_1789

BHP Billiton Snr Manager, Corporate Affairs Andrew Garrett, Association of Mining Related Councils’ CEO Don Tydd and Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, with BHP Billiton Caroona Coal Project Manager Mick Lovely, in front of the ridge where the proposed controversial Caroona coal mine would be established.

“This was a good opportunity for us to network with other councils with mining operations right on their doorstep,” said Liverpool Plains Shire Mayor Cr Andrew Hope. “We have many mining royalties and infrastructure issues, which we need this Association to represent our concerns straight to the State Government,” he said. “I’ve seen us make headway through mining debates.”

The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton said that IPART (the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) will be conducting a comprehensive review of local government rating legislation. “The Association will be asking IPART to ensure its terms of reference encompass the rating of mine operations. We saw this issue have a major financial impact on Broken Hill Shire Council,” he said.

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AMRC Chair Peter Shinton, Werris Creek Coal Mine Manager Jeremy Taylor and AMRC CEO Don Tydd, with the open-cut mine below them.

Following a motion by Narrabri Shire Council delegate Cr. Catherine Collyer, the Association moved to lobby the NSW Government to honour its pre-election promise relating to dust monitoring at the large-scale Maules Creek mine development. Gunnedah Shire Mayor Owen Hassler reiterated Cr. Collyer’s statement that people need to be able to have more trust and faith in their Governments, adding that NSW needs to be proactive, not reactive when it comes to dust. “

AMRC members were updated on their progress in building an information database and panel resource. Association CEO Don Tydd told the meeting that responses had come in from 43 consultancies, from small to multi-national. “There is days of reading in the responses. The extent of the interest we received speaks volumes about the knowledge base relating to mining impacts and the growing standing of this Association,” he said. Chair Peter Shinton said that the Association has called for action on Voluntary Planning Agreements and was delighted to see two senior staff from Planning NSW give a presentation on a position paper concerning Planning Agreements at the meeting. “These agreements can involve ongoing multi-million dollar deals between a mine and local government towards redressing infrastructure impacts. It is fantastic that Planning NSW took our input on board, toward producing guidelines that will help councils negotiating these deals in regards to new mines, in the future.”

Download Media Release: Mining related councils hit hot topics in Liverpool Plains (pdf).

NSW Mining affected councils continue Government inquiry call

The Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) has continued its pre-election appeal to the NSW Government for an in-depth mining impact analysis. Association Chair and Warrumbungle Shire Mayor Peter Shinton said that it is time that Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon. Anthony Roberts got genuinely resourced with grassroots mining impacts knowledge and stopped being reactionary with mining related policies.

Blayney Shire Council General Manager Rebecca Ryan and Mayor Scott Ferguson, Western Research Institute CEO Danielle Ranshaw with her Cadia mine impacts report in hand, Association of Mining Related Councils Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Cabonne Shire Councillor Sharon Wilcox and CEO of the Association Don Tydd.

Blayney Shire Council General Manager Rebecca Ryan and Mayor Scott Ferguson, Western Research Institute CEO Danielle Ranshaw with her Cadia mine impacts report in hand, Association of Mining Related Councils Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Cabonne Shire Councillor Sharon Wilcox and CEO of the Association Don Tydd.

“We have seen the benefits of a holistic inquiry into infrastructure and social impacts mining has on a community through a study undertaken by the Western Research Institute for Newcrest Mining Limited, Cadia Valley Operations. This comprehensive study looked at both mining impacts and the implications for the regional city of Orange and other nearby centres, if the Cadia gold mine was to shut down. Just as councils deserve a better return from the mining royalties the State Government extracts from their areas, they should also have all the information possible to best manage mining impacts, including the massive adjustments that come with a mine closure,” Cr. Shinton said.

“Any council would benefit from this level of awareness, particularly when negotiating Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPA’s). We need the NSW Government to lay the foundations for local studies, with a comprehensive inquiry.”

“Mining communities need to keep monitoring their health, strengths, weaknesses and changes that occur in the community and its economy, as the result of mining. This can be done with a large study like what was done for Cadia but there can also be advantages from regular monitoring on a smaller scale, following solid foundation analysis. Ongoing engagement with the local business community, service providers, people involved in the housing sector can also be important in both gauging and informing about mining impacts. This regular monitoring and community liaison can help local councils and mining operations to be aware of mining impacts and ensure the best possible means of addressing them are in place,” said Western Research Institute CEO Danielle Ranshaw.

In a presentation to the Association of Mining Related Councils, Ms Ranshaw outlined what the report “Economic, social & community impacts of 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.” A mining company can only benefit from comprehensive awareness and community engagement. Just like governments, if mine operators understand their impacts they can tailor or implement strategies to ensure the community thrives whilst the mine is there and post-mining.”

Cr Shinton said that the Cadia study at Orange set an excellent benchmark and applauded the mining operation for commissioning it. “The benefits of this kind of study are clear. We cannot expect such an initiative to be undertaken by all mine operators across NSW and councils do not have the resources – the State Government does and it is time we saw long, as well as short-term mining policy underpinned by real consultation, investigation and analysis.”

Download Media Release – NSW Mining affected councils continue Government inquiry call (pdf)

NSW Mining affected councils demand inquiry

The Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) has called for a pre-election commitment on mining impact analysis from the Coalition and Labor. It has made in-person requests for an urgent inquiry into mining impacts, to both the Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon. Anthony Roberts and Shadow Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services; Regional and Rural Affairs, and Western NSW, the Hon. Mick Veitch MLC.

Enquiry called for.. and Association of Mining Related Councils Chair, Cr. Peter Shinton is waiting for a response from the Coalition and Labor.

inquiry called for.. and Association of Mining Related Councils Chair, Cr. Peter Shinton is waiting for a response from the Coalition and Labor.

AMRC CEO Don Tydd explained that areas of concern common to mining affected local government areas in NSW were discussed. “With the revenue that the NSW Government collects through mining exploration licenses and royalties, AMRC member councils feel that the State has the resources and the responsibility to better assist councils,” he said.

The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton commended Wollongong Lord Mayor and AMRC delegate, Cr. Gordon Bradbury for his comprehensive demands, put to both sides of government at the last AMRC meeting.

“A review into the socio-economic impacts of mining and exploration, from coal to coal seam gas must be undertaken as a matter of urgency, by an independent expert or a panel with appropriate expertise. This inquiry should draw on the experience of local government areas already affected by mining, to better equip them and the NSW Government for socio-economic assessments, into the future,” said Cr. Shinton. “It is time that NSW saw more than reactionary policies and data presented to validate policy positions.”

“Our request to both parties stated that the scope of an inquiry should comprehensively identify the full range of mining and gas extraction socio-economic impacts on local government in NSW. Existing sources (and shortfalls) of funding available to councils to address infrastructure and service needs should be outlined. It would identify what tools and opportunities councils possess or should have to manage the challenges they face as a result of mining; these include regional demographic, equity and political issues, infrastructure costs and priorities.”

“As part of being a pro-active resource for the future, this inquiry must identify what tools and opportunities councils have to contend with the triple bottom line impacts of mine closures. The focus is often on environmental rehabilitation but a mine closure has social impacts and also leaves a very big hole in a local economy.”

Shadow Minister Mick Veitch and Minister Anthony Roberts, made consecutive presentations to the AMRC at the Association's recent meeting.

Shadow Minister Mick Veitch and Minister Anthony Roberts, made consecutive presentations to the AMRC at the Association’s recent meeting.

“The Association asserts that there needs to be a review of the delineation between State and Local Government jurisdictions in terms of the charges, planning, infrastructure and associated issues connected to the management of mining. The inquiry should also review the future viability and use of approaches currently available to councils to regulate, manage and tax mining related activities and to fund infrastructure and service delivery, such as Resources for Regions, Conditions of Consent and Section 94 contributions,” continued Cr. Shinton. “We would expect such an inquiry to deliver new regulatory mechanisms or legislative change and identify new funding avenues for mining related councils, as a result of this line of investigation.”

Mr Tydd said that delegates from the Association’s 23 member councils from across NSW appreciated the Minister and Shadow Minister taking the time to address their recent meeting but now hope to see some real commitments before and after the election regarding this proposed inquiry.”

Download Media Release – NSW Mining affected councils demand inquiry (pdf)

Mining related councils get pre-election pitches

The recent meeting of the Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) in Sydney, heard from both, the Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon. Anthony Roberts and Shadow Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services; Regional and Rural Affairs, and Western NSW, the Hon. Mick Veitch MLC.

Singing from the same Hymn Sheet?... Association of Mining Related Councils Chair, Cr. Peter Shinton, flanked by Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon. Anthony Roberts and the Hon. Mick Veitch MLC, who has a range of rural and regional portfolios in the Shadow Ministry.

Singing from the same Hymn Sheet?… Association of Mining Related Councils Chair, Cr. Peter Shinton, flanked by Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon. Anthony Roberts and the Hon. Mick Veitch MLC, who has a range of rural and regional portfolios in the Shadow Ministry.

 

The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton applauded both sides of Government for coming to speak and listen to the representatives of mining affected communities across NSW. “It is important that the Government hears first-hand, the challenges that local councils face as a result of mining and that we provide input into policy development.”

The AMRC has campaigned for a Royalties for Regions scheme, where mining impacted communities would see a percentage of the mining royalties which go into State Government coffers. In recent years, the NSW Government has promoted its Resources for Regions program as an appropriate way of giving back. The AMRC has raised concerns that despite limited council eligibility and specific funding application criteria, the State Government has used Resources for Regions to fund infrastructure which is (ordinarily) the responsibility of the Government, instead of providing additional benefits to communities enduring mining impacts. The $6.5mil Muswellbrook Hospital Emergency Department upgrade was cited as an example by Cessnock City Councillor Jeff Maybury.
“There doesn’t seem to be any model for allocating Resources for Regions funding to councils. As mining royalties do not fund this program, it appears to be at the Government’s discretion,” Association Chair Peter Shinton said.

In response, the Minister said “I would have thought any local council would be happy to see millions of dollars in funding going into their hospital.”

Mr Roberts detailed how the Baird Government plans to spend an extra $23 million to improve water mapping and monitoring towards addressing community concerns about aquifer and groundwater impacts of mining. The NSW Office of Water will use the funds, to be spent over the next five years, to install a further 70 groundwater monitoring bores in priority areas such as the Gloucester, Gunnedah and Clarence Morton basins. Live data will be published online. He vowed to taken the Association’s concerns on board.

Mr Veitch has met with the Association of 23 councils a number of times over the past four years. “I appreciate a robust conversation with mining related councils about what we, as politicians, can do better,” he said.

“The Resources for Regions policy in NSW was poorly implemented and administered. A number of councils have expected to receive funding and have yet to see any at all. It was put clearly to the Minister that this Association is not very happy with this program. The sentiment of the Association was that Resources for Regions is being used to build infrastructure that should be funded through the State capital Works program. Health or roads capital works examples were provided.”

Asked if Labor had a better model to offer, Mr Veitch said that with the approaching election, all policy announcements would be made by Opposition Leader Luke Foley.
Chair Peter Shinton said the meeting truly facilitated the Association’s role for its member councils. “From funding for mining affected communities and mining rating issues, to mine site rehabilitation and environmental impacts, a broad spectrum of issues were discussed – with a NSW Minister and a Shadow Minister. We consist of 23 member councils across NSW, representing well over 20 percent of the land in NSW and close to 11 percent of the population. We contribute significantly to the State’s economy and the Government’s revenue, through mining royalties. We deserve to see a better deal for our communities. United, we are being heard,” he said.

Download Media Release – Mining related councils get pre-election pitches (pdf)

Association of Mining Related Councils’ New leadership

The Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) has a new chairman at its helm. The Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Peter Shinton was elected to the role, after Cr. Col Mitchell of Wollondilly Shire Council stood down. The continuing Deputy Chairs are Wollongong City Council Deputy Lord Mayor C

The Association on Mining Related Councils' new Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle shire Council, Peter Shinton congratulated by outgoing chair, Cr. Col Mitchell of Wollondilly Shire Council.

The Association on Mining Related Councils’ new Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle shire Council, Peter Shinton congratulated by outgoing chair, Cr. Col Mitchell of Wollondilly Shire Council.

r. Chris Connor and long-time Cobar Shire Mayor, Cr Lilliane Brady.

In another change to the Association, Gunnedah Shire Mayor, Cr. Owen Hasler replaced Cr Sharon Wilcox of Cabonne’s Shire on the Executive Committee.

With 23 member councils across NSW, the Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) is the peak representative body for mining affected councils in the State. Together, the councils represent over 20 percent of the land in NSW and close to 11 percent of the population. They contribute significantly to the State’s economy and the Government’s revenue, through mining royalties.

The Association’s new Chair is an experienced, trusted and familiar face. The State of NSW witnessed Cr Peter Shinton’s leadership during and following the bushfire crisis that devastated his Shire. The Coonabarabran bushfire started in the Warrumbungle National Park on January 12, 2013 and over the following week, it burnt out more than 54,000 hectares, countless livestock and destroying 53 homes. Cr Shinton has brought more than leadership qualities to the helm of Association. “As a former exploration geologist with experience across Australia, I am interested in all exploration and mining activities,” he said. “Working with the talented executive team and being able to call upon the expertise of the member delegates and consultants will enable this Association to strengthen its role as the primary lobby group for councils being affected by mining activities throughout NSW.”

“Under the tutelage of Cr. Col Mitchell and CEO Don Tydd over the past two years, the profile of the Association has been elevated. This has empowered the Association to play a more strategic role in representing member councils, as well as resourcing and equipping them with the latest, holistic information on mining related issues.”
In further responding to the needs for members, the Association will be conducting a Voluntary Planning Agreement Workshop in Sydney on 13 February 2015. This will incorporate the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure, together with the NSW Minerals Council.

“Voluntary Planning Agreements are important documents signed by local councils and mining companies. These VPAs address the effects that the mine will have and cover funding for vital infrastructure improvements, such as the upkeep or reconstruction of roads leading to the mines or airport upgrades, as well as social and community infrastructure,” AMRC CEO Don Tydd said. “The AMRC has also formulated and adopted a CSG policy.”

Cr. Mitchell, who chaired the Association for the past two years, said he was pleased with its recent progress. “As a constructive representative body, we now have a seat at the table and we are in a position to influence policy, consult with the mining sector and assist member councils,” he said.

For further information, contact AMRC Executive Officer, Don Tydd: 02 6775 3844 or 0418 681 320.

Download Media Release – Association of Mining Related Councils’ New leadership (pdf)