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.
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.
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 email@example.com
“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.
If you have any queries in relation to this newsletter please do not hesitate to contact the Chair or the Executive Officer to see how we can assist you in your busy role as a Council delegate to the Association of Mining Related Councils. Our contacts are:- Chair, Clr Peter Shinton, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at Council on 02 68492000 or the .Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 0407937636.
Greg Lamont – Executive Officer
Clr Peter Shinton – Chair