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 – email@example.com)
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.
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.
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.
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
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