Delegates, here is the September 2017 Newsletter for your information, please circulate this to your fellow councillors and senior staff so they can appreciate and understand the excellent work the Association and you are doing on behalf of your council and community with regard to mining and energy related matters.
New and Former Delegates
At the end of September and early October 2017, based on the advice received from member Councils and delegates, there have been some changes to delegates allocated to the Association. When all to hand, a welcome letter will be forwarded to any new delegates with brief details about the Association and our proposed new direction, etc to prepare them for the Special General Meeting, the Annual General Meeting and the Ordinary Meeting on 17th November 2017 in Singleton.
As well, thank you letters will be sent to former delegates particularly Councillors Hollee Jenkins (Singleton Shire Council, former member of the Executive Committee) and Gae Swain (Gunnedah Shire Council) and ex Councillor Sharon Wilcox (Cabonne, who did not stand for the recent Council elections) and the former Mayor Orange City Council John Davis (former Chair) who did not stand for election, for their contribution toward the progress of the Association and on representing their communities.
New delegates are Councillor Rob Hooke (Gunnedah Shire Council) and Councillor Sue Moore (Mayor, Singleton Shire Council). At Cabonne, Councillor Ian Davison (former alternate) replaces Sharon Wilcox with Councillor Ken Walker as new alternate, Director Environmental Services, Heather Nicholls is retained as the other delegate.
Next Meetings in Singleton 16/17th November 2017
The November Ordinary meeting will be at Singleton Shire Council Civic Centre Foyer next to the Council Chamber, anticipated to commence from 9.30am on 17th November 2017 preceded by the Special General Meeting (to consider changes to the constituition for the inclusion of renewable energy, the adoption of the 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan and the changes that will bring with re – naming etc, the inclusion of a Treasurer role and to consider clarification of clause 4.6 on representation in relation to local government best practice and current governance requirements).
The Annual General Meeting will follow the Special General Meeting, whereby delegates will be elected to the Executive Committee as Chair, Deputy Chairs (currently Metalliferous and Coal, possibly a third as Renewable Energy or retain two Deputy Chairs being Renewable and Non Renewable Energy or suchlike, yet to be determined) and three other Committee members plus or to be inclusive of a Treasurer, depending on decisions made at the Special General Meeting.
The Executive Committee will meet the day before at 9.00am in the Singleton Shire Council Civic Centre Foyer meeting room next to the Council Chambers with the afternoon tour being replaced and introducing a different approach, rather than a mine tour. What is being organised is an afternoon of presentations with Q & A, by the Hunter Mining Dialogue, Rio Tinto and Department of Primary Industries on Innovations in mining such as their Synoptic Planning efforts (future planning/use of mining land), more details will be provided when to hand and confirmed.
Arrangements are in hand to have a bus pick up/drop off to visit a restaurant at 130 Adams Peak Rd, Broke (Mt Broke Wines and Restaurant) in the vineyards area on Thursday night, south of Singleton where we will drive past the active mines.
Accommodation options at Singleton can be sourced through the Singleton Visitor Information and Enterprise Centre phone number 1800 447 888 or email email@example.com or visit their website. I have listed the Singleton town motels from their brochure for your consideration:
Quest Apartments (ph 02 6570380035); Highway motels – Quality Inn Charbonnier (ph 02 65722333), Country Motor Inn (ph 02 65722388), Benjamin Singleton Motel (ph 02 65722922), Francis Phillip Motor Inn (ph 02 65711991) and in the main street off the highway is the Mid City Motor Inn (ph 02 65722011).
It would be nice to know in advance of attendances at the meetings in Novemeber 2017, once the appointment of delegates is finalised. A few apologies have been received already and we need a quorum for the meetings of a least ten Councils represented. Something to think about. Requests for numbers will be issued in October 2017.
Speakers for Next Meeting in Singleton
Speakers arranged at this stage are M/s Alison Frame, Deputy Secretary Department Planning and Environment, to provide an overview of the many planning reforms being implemented by the State government.
Plus there will be a representative from the Department of Primary Industries, Water directorate to talk about their Water Monitoring Strategy, which has commenced in the Gunnedah Basin and is due to commence in Camden/Southern Coalfields and the Hunter soon. Attempts have also been made to get either John Barilaro or Don Harwin to address delegates, if not for November this year but for next year, hopefully at Parliament House.
Australian Minerals Council Dinner at Parliament House 6th September 2017
The Chair of the Association, Clr Peter Shinton, Warrumbungle Shire Council and Deputy Chair (Metalliferous) Clr Lilliane Brady OAM, attended a dinner in the Federal Government Parliament House dining room on 6th September 2017 as guests of the Australian Minerals Council where the Prime Minister, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull was the Guest of Honour. Yet to hear of any stories but Peter and Lilliane were on separate tables and no doubt will relay their experiences in due course.
This was a momentous occasion for several members of our hard working Executive to be invited to the dinner and a reflection of where the Association is held in the corridors of government in Canberra, Sydney and by the mining industry nationally.
Update on the Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)
Further to the update provided in the September Newsletter on the VPAWP progress and the resolutions of the Association to advise members of its preferred position in relation to the VPA Quantum model options “to not support the worker domicile model” at its meeting on 11th August 2017, the Association has been advised by the CEO of the NSW Minerals Council, Mr Steve Gallilee, that they have decided to cease negotiations with the Association on the development of quantum models and particpating in the Joint VPA Working party.
There will still need to be some form of documentation to reflect what has been agreed to date, plus the finalisation of the Guidelines, which will be discussed by the Associations’ VPA working party members in due course. This has been raised with Mr Galilee recently.
With regard to the decision on the quantum options on 11th August 2017, the Association resolved as follows:
- The Association adopt option 3 – the actual cents per tonne (not % of production) as the preferred option in relation to coal production developments with option 4 – 1% of CAPEX as the default model;
- The Association reject outright the worker domicile model outlined in option 5 and delegates be requested to have their Councils write to the Minister for Planning indicating the same. (The Executive Officer is to write to member Councils outlining the Associations position on the VPA Non Infrastructure Contribution options, requesting they write to the Minister rejecting the worker domicile model with a template for them to consider and forward);
- The Association adopt as the preferred model for higher value commodities (metals) as the means for compensating local impacts of metalliferous mining developments, a calculation to apply an “X” cents per tonne figure for the ore concentrate or use 1% CAPEX, given the different circumstances for higher value commodities, as opposed to coal;
- The Association thanked Warwick for his comprehensive and detailed report and presentation.
Accordingly, the letter to go to member Councils, outlining the Associations’ preferred position, as per the aforementioned resolution, will go out under separate cover with this Newsletter. The letter has been prepared in consultation with the Chair, the remaining members of the VPA working party and the consultant from Oz Environmental, who assisted the Association with the draft Guidelines and VPA Quantum options.
It is noted that Mid Western Regional Council has already resolved to support the Association on its stance with the ”worker domicile model” and advise the Minister accordingly.
Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP) & Resources for Regions
The Association has recently received documentation from the CEO Infrastructure NSW on seeking the appointment of a delegate from the Association to replace the former Executive Officer to be on the Regional Independent Panel Assessment. A meeting of RIAP was held in Sydney on 5th October 2017, to deal with the Resources for Regions recent applications for shortlisting, with another one due in March 2017.
In view of the tight timeframe when the letter was received and date of their meeting, arrangements were made with the Chair for the Executive Officer to attend the meeting on 5th October 2017 to gather facts for a report back to the Executive Committee for appointment of a delegate in future.
In the meantime, a copy of the letter and attachments will be forwarded to the current remaining Executive Committee members as information in accordance with the resolution made by the Association, early this year, until the matter is dealt with on 16th November at the next Executive Committee meeting.
The website is a work in progress and the focus continues to be on getting more relevant information, photos (replaced, updated, captioned), etc. The Executive Committee have approved the Executive Officer liasing with the website designer to have the newsletter submitted to delegates as part of the webpage rather than in the current format with references to links and so forth in order to improve our information exchange. A copy of this newsletter will be trialled with the website designer for further consideration.
Review of Associations’ Financial Position by Roberts & Morrow
Still awaiting final report from the Auditing firm, despite follow up emails and several meetings. The critical issue with this review is not just the financial aspects that are under review but the taxation obligations of the Association with former employees such as Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT), Pay as you go (PAYE) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Superannuation Guarantee obligations being met. Report will be ready for AMRC meetings 16/17th November 2017.
Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020
The Chair of the Working Party (established to review the Strategic Framework 2013 – 2016 for the Association), Councillor Chris Connor, has completed the draft Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020. Councillor Connor has sought input from the Association members on the latest content which was distributed to delegates on 11th August 2017.
The Association resolved that a copy of the Draft Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 be forwarded to delegates for comment by November 3rd 2017 (back to the Chair, Clr Chris Connor), so it can be included in the Agenda to the Special Meeting on 17th November 2017 by the Executive Officer. Please have a look at the document and submit comments to Councillor Connor.
VPA Working Party Visits
If any council would like to know more about the background to the VPA Working Party, progress with negotiations and how the models proposed for Road and Non Road impact calculations, the timelines and the proposed Guidelines will work, please contact the Executive Officer. Arrangements can be made to do a presentation to your council or its relevant staff to assist, by members of the Association’s VPA Working Party.
The letter to member Councils being forwarded under separate cover is comprehensive and will provide details for Councils to be updated on the progress and options in the VPA Guidelines, if they don’t want a presentation.
With the review of the Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 and it’s potential adoption, it will be necessary to conduct a Special General Meeting to make changes to the Constitution for name changes, details in clauses therein relating to “mining and energy related” matters on 17th November 2017.
The Association has also resolved that a report on a Treasurer function be also presented along with a legal interpretation on proposed changes to Clause 4.6 Representation (currently a delegate cannot be nominated by a member council if he/she has any association, commercial agreement or contract with a mining company – no doubt this will also include energy related associations, agreements or contracts) taking into account current governance provisons in Local Government, for consideration by the Association in November at the Special General Meeting.
A brief was prepared and presented to a specialist legal firm in Tamworth that deals with Association constitutions (Zuckerlegal) in September and a report on the legal opinion will be available by the end of October for presentation to the Executive and delegates for consideration of any changes needed to the Constitution.
The Executive Officer has developed a comprehensive membership proposal consisting of six pages outlining the history of the Association, its proposed new direction in the Draft Strategic Plan for the next three years, with a cost benefit analysis, its achievements, the seat at the table, strong voice for the community, offer to meet with Councils, etc.
Meetings have been held with several Councils and correspondence received from interested Councils indicating potentially they may be interested in membership, but nothing has been confirmed to date from any of them until their elections and appoitmnets to Committees have concluded. Any leads will be followed up by the Executive Officer.The proposed solar and wind exhibitions in 2018 will also help increase membership once the Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2020 is adopted in November 2017.
Unfortunately, Upper Hunter Shire Council have submitted their resignation from the Association, following a Council meeting on 31st July 2017. The Executive Officer outlined to them in response that they have to give three months notice before being able to leave the Association and are still eligible to pay this years’ fees and requested their feedback on why they wanted to resign. A response has been received indicating the Council is look at our submission and is re – considering their position. Fingers crossed.
With over 20 plus Councils having elections on Saturday 9th September 2017, there are some current delegates and member Council members involved, that we are aware of, such as Cabonne, Blayney, Orange, Wollongong, Newcastle, etc. Councillors associated with the Association that were re – elected were: Clr Scott Ferguson (Mayor, Blayney Shire Council), Clr Alan Ewin (Blayney Shire Council, alternate); Clr Gordon Bradberry (Mayor) and Clr Chris Connor (both Wollongong City Council, whereby delegates are to be determined 9th October 2017); Clr Ian Davison and Clr Ken Walker (alternate), Cabonne Shire Council and Clr Nuatali Nelmes (Mayor, Newcastle City Council).
Related Matters of Interest – Mining and Energy Issues in the Press
“Pushing Namoi Power Station” Journalist Jamieson Murphy in the Northern Daily Leader on 18th September 2017 said “there were renewed calls for a coal fired power station in the Namoi Region, as the government looks to fill the void that will be left in the nation’s power supply when the Liddell station closes. Chair of the New England Nationals Electorate Council, Russell Webb (a Tamworth Regional Councillor), said high energy low emissions (HELE) power stations were being succesfully used in developed nations such as Germany and Japan. He’s previously suggested Boggabri would be the perfect location for such a plant. It would provide the local economy with jobs and a “kick back” from the nearby coal, rather than seeing it exported overseas.” Refer www.northerndailyleader.com.au for more details
“Gunnedah Marches for Mining” reported in the Northern Daily Leader on 18th September 2017 was the successful march up the main street of Gunnedah on 16th September 2017, marking 140 years of mining in the Gunnedah area. The anniversary, organised by the Gunnedah Miners Support Group, kicked off with a street parade, a memorial service and later in the evening awards were presented for apprentice of the year, a womens award, life memberships and scholarships. A former Chair of the Association, Clr Colleen Fuller was part of the organising group instrumental in making the event a success. Well done to all involved.
“Coal Rationing at Stockpiles hit Historic Lows” Peter Hannam in the Sydney Morning Herald on 18th September said “ a shortage of rail capacity in NSW prompted partly by rising coal exports has led three of the country’s biggest power stations to run down stockpiles to “historic lows”. At AGL Energy’s twin Bayswater and Liddell power stations near Muswellbrook, stockpiles dwindled to about three weeks’ supplies during winter despite rationing since October, the company said”. He also mentioned “Origin Energy, which operates Australia’s biggest coal plant – the 2880 MW Eraring station near Newcastle – also used up “substantial coal supplies” during winter, Greg Jarvis, Executive General Manager, said.” Further details are available on www.smh.com.au
“Old World Thinking on Power Future” In a letter to the editor of the Northern Daily Leader on 19th September 2017 by the CEO nsw Minerals’ Council, Mr Steve Galilee says “Nature Conservation Council CEO, Kate Smolski’s recent article in the NDL is just another example of the tired “us versus them”, “coal versus renewables” old world thinking on energy security”. He says “its part of the problem in finding an affordable and reliable solution to our current energy woes. We don’t live in the Conservation Council’s fantasy world where the sun and wind are endless. We need reliable baseload power when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. Those that can’t accept this reality are the true deniers on energy security. The rest of us are trying to get on with finding a common sense partnership between reliable and affordable baseload coal fired power and investment in emerging renewable power sources.” Refer www.northerndailyleader.com.au
There are a lot of articles online and in newsprint that stories could be highlighted in this newsletter on Liddell, Bayswater, AGL, Origin Energy, etc and on whether the Federal Government can coerce AGL to extend the life of Liddell for several more years or is it battery power or gas or wind and solar or a combination of them all as the solution?
It appears as readers of these articles that the seriousness of the situation is exacebated by the lack of leadership and lack of policies on energy from the current and past Federal governments with plenty of comment from state politicians of all persuasions but with no concrete actions or direction either!
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