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Strategic Plan for Mining Related Councils

The new strategic plan for the Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) will reinforce its role as the peak body, representing mining affected councils and their communities in NSW, according Chair, (and Wollondilly Mayor) Col Mitchell. "We are ideally placed to have productive dialogue with Governments and mining bodies."

The AMRC has now workshopped a strategic plan, to be tabled at a special meeting in Sydney on 12 July. NSW Government and Opposition members will be invited. The planning workshop day preceded the Association's recent quarterly meeting in Scone. The intensive planning talks lasted over five hours. Delegates brainstormed fundamentals, from the organisation's identity to member councils' expectations.

CEO of the Hunter Group of Councils, Roger Stephan facilitated the strategic planning workshop and described it as 'a highly productive day'. "The agenda that the Association has set is dynamic, achievable and will bring about tangible benefits for communities. It will give the organisation credibility and teeth," he said. "It will do this by researching and documenting information about economic, infrastructure, social and community impacts, together with the development of achievable strategies for managing them."

The Association will 'resource' its collective voice and its member councils by developing Position Papers on such topics as: Royalties for Region (the return of Government mining revenue to impacted areas); best practice in community engagement and consultation; how the role of communities in the management of mining related matters can be enhanced; greater transparency in and resourcing of the enforcement of the conditions of mining consent; site rehabilitation and life after mining; and the removal of legislative barriers to appropriate rating, for the likes of coal seam gas (CSG) sites.

"It's about establishing a case and being able to say to the State Government and the mining sector, 'this is the situation, work with us, work with our communities, to build a viable, sustainable future'," said Mr Stephan.

AMRC Chair Col Mitchell said mining affected communities need to work together to maximise positive outcomes. "Councils face rising operating costs and restricted revenue income, due to rate-pegging. Financial burdens on Local Government are increasing, particularly those that are mining related, like transport infrastructure," he said. "The voice that the AMRC gives those communities, with the State Government and mining sector is important. Backing that voice up with data and documentation will strengthen its authority."

After their planning meeting in Scone, delegates from mining affected councils took the opportunity to visit horse industry flagship, Darley Australia. The pre-eminent thoroughbred horse stud in the southern hemisphere is a multi-million dollar operation, with 120 employees and supporting 96 farms in the Upper Hunter. Managing Director, Henry Plumtre told the AMRC of his fight against mining expansion in the region, highlighting water and aesthetic concerns. The Upper Hunter critical equine and wine industry clusters have seen exclusion zones for CSG written into State Government plans but Mr Plumtre said the Hunter thoroughbred industry also needs open cut coal mining buffers. "We cannot co-exist," he said.

The Association was established in 1978. It currently comprises 22 councils, from Wollongong to the Hunter, the Central West, west to Cobar and Broken Hill and North West to Gunnedah and Narrabri. Together, they represent 19 percent of the land in NSW and 11.4 percent of the population. They contribute significantly to the State's economy and the Government revenue, through mining royalties. The campaign to see more funds from those royalties flow back to the regions where mining occurs is continuing.


Associated Mining Council photo