MERC Newsletter – June 2018


Delegates, here is the June 2018 MERC Newsletter. This newsletter has a lot of important information in it for you to read, 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.


Recognition of Achievement – Cr Lilliane Brady OAM

On 2nd July whilst undertaking her Country Forums, the President of LGNSW, Linda Scott when in Cobar, presented the Mayor of Cobar, Cr Lilliane Brady OAM (Deputy Chair of the Association) with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for her outstanding contribution to Local Government and the mining & rural community, for a period greater than 17 years. Well done Lilliane, you are a deserving recipient of this prestigious Award, presented in recognition of your continued dedicated service to your community.


2018 Australian Mining Industry Annual Lecture – The Hon Andrew Robb AO

The Chair of our Association Peter Shinton and Deputy Chair Cr Lilliane Brady OAM were personally invited by the Minerals Council of Australia Chair, following their attendance last year at the Prime Ministers Parliamentary Dinner, to attend the 2018 Australian Mining Industry Annual Lecture delivered by the Hon Andrew Robb AO on 2nd July 2018 in Melbourne, demonstrating where our Association audience is reaching to these days. Unfortunately, Lilliane was an apology due to a clash with events.

Whilst Lilliane could not attend the lecture, she was busy (as Mayor of Cobar hosting the President of LGNSW, Cr Linda Scott) Peter was representing the Association at the Australian Mining Industry Annual lecture delivered by the Hon Andrew Robb AO. Details of the former Federal Minister’s lecture is on search for Andrew Lobb Lecture 2nd July 2018, it is very interesting, his lecture is on “Global Forces are Shaping Australian Mining” referring to growth of China and India and their demand for resources from Australia. The Chair has made new contacts for the Association and learnt a lot about silica mining in Tasmania and cleaning up brown coal using a bi product of water and methane….. more stories when you catch up with him!


Wind Farming & Energy Workshop 8th November 2018 held in Crookwell

The Wind Farming workshop will be held on Thursday 8th November 2018 in Crookwell, to commence at 1.00pm with a variety of speakers from Councils, Government etc about how Councils can manage wind energy developments more effectively with some excellent Council examples, with the focus on wind farming and renewable energy generally. The workshop at Cobat has set the bar high!

Invitations will be sent to Yass Valley Council, Goulburn Mulwaree Regional Council, Oberon Shire Council, Cowra Shire Council, Hilltops Regional Council, Snowy River Regional Council, Glen Innes Shire Council, Inverell Shire Council, Queanbeyan City Councils etc., with operational, under construction or proposed wind farms in NSW as outlined on the Dept Planning website.

Yass Valley Council recently held their own in house workshop on the “for and against” arguments of wind farms so Councillors and the community can be better informed when they are required to determine any wind farm developments and manage existing developments.  Director Planning Services, Yass Shire Council, Chris Barry has been invited to present to our workshop, awaiting a response.

Mike Young (DPE Director Resource & Energy Assessments), who presented to the Cobar workshop and meeting is interested in attending in view of his senior role in the DPE and in assessing dvelopments such as wind farms.

We will be pursuing the Clean Energy Council, Clean Energy Regulator, National Wind Alliance and Wind Farm Comissioner to attend and participate which will give the workshop a more in depth perspective.To top it off, hopefully the Deputy Premier and Leader of the National Party, Hon John Barilaro can be enticed to attend and participate, as the member for Monaro, a bit further south of Crookwell.

Andrew Warren, Tourism Manager, Upper Lachlan Shire Council, Crookwell is assisting with the organisation of the workshop, dinner, AGM, Executive and Ordinary meetings and activities for the visit to the Upper Lachlan region in November 2018, his help has been very beneficial to date, as you can see with the details in this Newsletter.

The General Manager of Upper Lachlan Shire Council, John Bell, is on leave until end of August and it so happens that the Acting General Manager is Gary Woodman, ex Cobar, Shire General Manager, Warren Shire and Singleton Council senior staff member who is familiar with what the Association does in view of his former roles.


Next MERC meetings in Sydney 9/10th August 2018

The Executive Committee will meet at 2.00pm in the McKell Room, NSW Parliament House, on 9th August 2018. The Ordinary meeting will be held the next day on 10th August 2018 in the Preston Stanley Meeting Room, NSW Parliament House to commence from 9.00am and finish at 1.00pm with lunch. It is near the Strangers Dining Room, delegates will have to be screened to get in, so allow time to do so.

Attendances have been very good to date, no quorum risks, since we have started having our Sydney meetings held at NSW Parliament House and informative regional meetings with a workshop in the afternoon and a networking dinner that night before the Ordinary General Meeting next day.

If you are attending the meetings on 9th (Executive Committee) and 10th August 2018 (Ordinary General) in Sydney at NSW Parliament House meeting can you advise the Executive Officer by email to as soon as possible for numbers and catering.


Speakers for the Meeting in NSW Parliament House 10th August 2018

Speakers confirmed for the meeting on 10th August 2018 on Resources for Regions are:

  • Phil Donato, Member for Orange (Shooters, Fishers & Farmers Party);
  • Michael Johnsen, Member for Upper Hunter (National Party) and Gary Barnes, Deputy Secretary Premier & Cabinet’s Department (representing Deputy Premier, Hon John Barilaro);
  • Hon Adam Searle MLC, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources & Energy and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations;
  • Andrew Keon, Chief Compliance Officer, Resources Regulator

The Greens have been contacted and have advised that Jeremy Buckingham is the nominated spokesperson for them on mining & energy related issues, awaiting confirmation of attendance. If they all turn up it should be a very interesting session especially with the impending State Elections in March 2019!


Update on the Joint Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

A copy of the draft report from Chris Wilson was forwarded to delegates before the meetings on 10/11th May 2018 and following a briefing from the working party and discussions with delegates at the Ordinary meeting on 11th May, it was resolved that the concerns raised be put into a submission to Chris Wilson prior to him submitting the report to the DPE. This was done and Chris Wilson has forwarded the report to DPE on 30th June 2018 with our comments therein.

We are waiting on a copy of the report for further consideration by the working party. The Executive Officer has been speaking with Stephen Barry at DPE to get a copy of the report and to set a date to have a meeting with NSW Minerals Council CEO and their new Director Policy; the DPE and our VPA working party members, as soon as possible. The aim of the forum is to go over the areas not in agreement and determine a path forward to get agreement, so the Guidelines can be finalised by our Annual General Meeting in November 2018.


Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP) & Resources for Regions (R4R)

At the Ordinary General meeting held in Cobar on 11th May 2018, the Association resolved to invite leaders of the State Government, Opposition, Greens and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Parties to talk to delegates about concerns we have with the current Resources for Regions criteria ie cost benefit analysis, co – contribution and original intention of returning funds to the mining affected areas from where the royalties were raised, for infrastructure developments, etc. There has been a good response as outlined in the speakers for next meeting section of this newsletter.

The Executive Officer has been advised by Chris Hanger, NSW Infrastructure, on the changes the government is considering to make to the criteria for Resources for Regions easier to meet by Councils by decreasing the co contribution funding to 25% and including a hardship case provision, if this cant be met; introducing a Location Quotient (LQ) based on ABS 2016 statistics for mining affected areas and employment in mining activities where a Council has to get the LQ greater than 1 and if they do they don’t have to present a case that they are mining affected, if less than 1 they do; introduction of a minimum grant for the project at a scale of $1million, etc. They still want to see Councils putting in their dollars where they can! Rest of the Guidelines to be the same such as the Cost Benefit Ratio.

Short listed applicants were promised in March 2018 that the last round of the Resources for Regions Grants would be released by end of May 2018, the process started mid last year….



The Executive Officer has been in discussion with CIBIS on the format for the new website  after going through the contents with the Executive Committee on 10th May 2018. These are – a Log in provision for members, more photos of mining and energy activities, condensing the number of pages, captions on photos, new logo and colours, format, etc. The brief has been provided to the web page designer to complete, waiting on the draft.


Regional Advisory Forum (RAF)

MERC delegate, Cr Owen Hasler attended the RAF meeting on 21st June 2018 and will provide an informed summary at our Ordinary meeting in August. In the meantime, he has requested that since the Voluntary Land Acquisition for Mining Projects from Adjoining Owners (VLAMP) Guidelines developed by the DPE have been implemented this year, if any Councils have had non compliance issues or where compliance is seen to be less than expected or not reflective of the VLAMP Guidelines they should raise them with the DPE. The contact persons are Dr Oliver Holmes, Director Compliance and Marcus Rae, Director Planning as they are looking for specific examples where this has been happening.


Next Meetings of Association for 2018 – 8/9th November

We will have another regional meeting and a workshop on 8th/9th November 2018 in the Upper Lachlan Shire, at Crookwell, when its warmer!!! The Executive Officer has been discussing arrangements with the Acting General Manager and the Council is keen to be involved. Upper Lachlan Shire Council area has the most number of wind farms in its Shire in Australia and on its website the Gullen Range Wind & Solar Farm is the first hybrid Solar & Wind Farm in Australia where they publish regular tours.

The Executive Committee will meet in the Upper Lachlan Council Chamber at 9am on 8th November 2018 after this the Wind Farm workshop (commencing from 1pm to 4pm) will be held in the Crookwell Memorial Hall. The AGM & Ordinary meeting on 9th November 2018 will also be held in the Crookwell Memorial Hall. The dinner will be a la carte on the 8th November 2018 to be held at the Crookwell Services Club. Catering for the meetings will be provided by Leave it to Me!

Accommodation (for the Executive Committee that has to bump in on Wednesday night 7th November 2018 for their meeting next morning from 9am), has been reserved by the Upper Lachlan Council at the Uplands Pastures Motel. On the weekend from Friday 9th November 2018, after our meetings, there is a very popular Garden Festival being held, which may place some pressure on bookings if Festivel goers want to book in beforehand. I recommend delegates book early. All accomodation options in and around the town of Crookwell are available on the following link, buses to/from the villages may be available or organised, if accomodation is required out of town: –


Speakers at future meetings

The Hon Rick Colless, MLC, is the sponsor for MERC to have meetings at NSW Parliament House, plus he has also indicated if any members need any assistance in getting to the members of parliament for a meeting to contact his office for his assistance.

The Executive Officer has been informed that Minister Barilaro is unavailable for 9/10th August 2018 due to electorate committments but has indicated Gary Barnes, Deputy Secretary, Premier and Cabinet’s Department and Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen will represent him to talk about Resources for Regions criteria.

The Labor party (Adam Searle), Greens (Jeremy Buckingham) and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers parties (Phil Donato) have been approached to attend future meetings, results outlined earlier in the newsletter, as will the Clean Energy Council (Anna Freeman), Clean Energy Regulator, National Wind Alliance and Wind Farm Commissioner (Andrew Dyer) will be approached for the November workshop and meeting.


Membership Campaign

The Executive Officer has been informed formally that Warren and Walgett Shire Councils have resolved to join the Association and Balranald have indicated they would verbally but are yet to formalise it. Gilgandra have advised “Council resolved to decline the invitation to join at this stage on the basis that there is no solar farm in the Gilgandra Shire Council area with a voluntary planning agreement. Membership will be reconsidered if a formal solar project application occurs in the future.(In other words they are not sure about the project)

In discussions with prominent people in Local Government, the critical point of difference and selling points of our Association are that the Association is specific on its issues; has seen there is a need to be the voice for energy for Councils; is not hampered by getting involved with the broader whole of state matters; has a seat at the table; its advice is sought by the government; we have experienced delegates on government working groups representing the members voices; we are not political and don’t have any collaborative problems within our group of dedicated delegates!

Why wouldn’t a Council join or or why would they leave, you have to ask the question are they truly representing their constituents under the Local Government Act when mining and energy issues are affecting their communities, are the legislated planning processes adequate to do this? Keep talking to your neighbours about the benefits of being a member of MERC.

The Association at its May meeting adopted a Marketing Policy to ensure membership increases by targeting more renewable energy development affected LGA’s in NSW and to formalise and strengthen the membership campaign. The foray into wind farming in the south will again provide more opportunities to present our case for them to join us. Southern NSW and New England areas will be targeted in due course, like we have with Orana and will with the Upper Lachlan Council neighboring areas.


Australian Mining Cities Alliance

The meeting at Cobar on 11th May 2018 provided the opportunity for the Mayor of Broken Hill City Council, Cr Darriea Turley to explain the background to the formation of the alliance and its objectives as a Federal body and its objectives.

The Alliance had a stand at the recent Australian Local Government conference and Chair Peter spoke to the person manning the stand about the Alliance but  was obviously a stand in as he didn’t seem to know a lot about them. The fee structure is interesting if MERC wanted to join “as a not for profit organisation with a strong stake in the relevance of mining in Australia’s mining cities”, it will cost a one off $10,000 fee plus $7000 pa. The Association has resolved that further details be obtained & a report submitted to delegates at next meeting in August by the Executive Officer. Details have now been received to do this.


Research Fellowship Update

The Executive Officer has had discussions with representatives of the University Technology Sydney on how they could be involved in an arrangement with MERC via an MOU to prepare papers on specific mining and energy related topics that are outlined in the Strategic Plan, as a research partner in lieu of a research fellowship arrangement. Trying to get them to meet with Executive Committee on 8th August 2018.


Project Working Party

Jason Linnane, General Manager Singleton Council has agreed to Chair the working party consisting of the Executive Officer, planning staff that regularly attend MERC meetings in Ron Zwicker, Heather Nicholls, David Henry and Andrew Johns. They will work with the Executive Officer to review the current MERC CSG Plan in relation to the NSW Energy Plan, the existing panel of consultants; prepare a survey of member Councils for renewable energy, mining and other specialised skill sets that could be accessed by members to assist with resource sharing, etc. This initiative is a resource sharing one in itself! Thank you all.


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

“Federal Government Inquiry into how the mining sector can support businesses in regional economies” (Barnaby Joyce to Chair see below).

On Wednesday, 27 June 2018, the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator the Hon Matthew Canavan, asked the Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources to inquire into and report on how the mining sector can support businesses in regional economies. The Committee invites interested persons and organizations to make submissions addressing the terms of reference. Please contact the secretariat if you require an extension. Online submissions can be made on this page. For information on how to make a submission, go to our  Making a submission to a Committee Inquiry page. Submissions due 10 August.

Terms of Reference: The committee will inquire into how the development of the mining sector can support businesses in regional economies. The inquiry will consider questions including:-the appropriateness of the payment terms offered to businesses by the mining sector; best practices between the mining sector and businesses, especially in regards to how they can support regional communities and economies; barriers to the greater use of regional businesses in the procurement of services by the mining sector; building the skills and expertise of businesses to leverage opportunities in the mining sector; opportunities for businesses to diversify to other markets; including the mining industry in Australia and overseas, and across different industries; the role of mining equipment, technology and services (METS) organisations in R&D and innovation and how payment terms impact on companies’ ability to invest in these areas; how the Federal Government can support businesses in regional economies benefit from mining development;  how royalties are shared between landholders on gas fields and State and Territory Governments; and  any other related matter. When undertaking this Inquiry the Committee should have regard to:-how relationships between mining and businesses differ between jurisdictions and in overseas countries; and the policies of State and Territory Governments in regards to mining procurement.

Barnaby Joyce chairs regional mining committee” Jamieson Murphy writes on 3rd July the following article in the Northern Daily Leader:


Comment form Executive Officer: This is a Federal Government Inquiry into how the mining sector can support businesses in regional economies. The Association will prepare a submission on behalf of the regional communities in NSW and will undertake enquiries if it is able to attend the inquiry in person. If any delegate has any thoughts on content, data sources or case studies to assist, can they provide them to the Executive Officer by email as soon as possible.

“Energy Innovation Mining Expo” The Gunnedah Show Society is having its inaugural Energy, Innovation & Mining Expo on 1 – 3 November 2018 where there will be a range of exhibitors and speakers from the energy & mining industry sector with the emphasis on innovation. Enquiries to MERC delegate Cr Rob Hookes, Gunnedah Shire Council.

“ASIC recommends voluntary disclosure of climate risks” In the Financial Review 19th June 2018, Misa Han wrote:” The corporate regulator has encouraged companies to go beyond meeting strict legal requirements and voluntarily disclose climate change risks and opportunities to the market. Australian Securities and Investments Commission commissioner John Price told a Centre for Policy Development forum on Monday night that in addition to the strict legal requirements, companies should also “carefully consider the general information needs of investors” when it comes to disclosing climate risks. The financial stability board’s Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) issued voluntary recommendations in 2015 to help companies with how to disclose climate change-related risks and opportunities, and what type of information to disclose. A number of ASX-listed companies have already announced an intention to report under the framework. Mr Price said some boards may be reluctant to fully adopt TCFD reporting to the market, particularly the scenario analysis component. As part of TCFD reporting, companies can use “scenario analysis” – a set of hypothetical scenarios that cover a reasonable variety of future outcomes. But Mr Price said the law or ASIC’s policy generally would not impede a company from undertaking scenario analysis. “Likewise, we do not think that director liability should be a major impediment to reporting under TCFD recommendations provided that the modelling adopts reasonable assumptions and inputs and discloses them in full,” he said. The speech comes after the prudential regulator’s “landmark” speech warning Australian financial institutions for the first time about the risks of climate change in February 2017. Refer www.



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 & Energy Related Councils.

Our contacts are:- Chair, Clr Peter Shinton, by email or phone at Council on 02 68492000 or the Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email or or phone on 0407937636.


Greg Lamont                                                                                     Clr Peter Shinton

Executive Officer                                                                               Chair