Miners working with community in Upper Hunter

In a bid to overcome the differences between mining companies and local communities, action plans will be put in place to address issues in the Upper Hunter.

Upper Hunter miners will work together with community and environmental groups, as well as government and local businesses and implement the most popular ideas to address the cumulative impacts of mining, the NSW Minerals Council announced yesterday.

Almost 70 participants put forward over 80 suggestions at the recent Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue held in Singleton and votes were cast to rank the top ideas dealing with water, the impacts on society, management and rehabilitation of land, noise, air quality, health and land use conflicts.

NSW Minerals Council Deputy chief executive Due-Ern Tan said the council has welcomed the new ideas suggested from the community.

“We’ve all come to the table with some ‘big picture’ thinking that has led to ideas that we’re investigating and in some cases already planning to implement,” she said.

“We know the community wants to see action on the issues that matter to them.

“But these big ideas can’t be acted on by just one group – these decisions need to be the right ones involving the right people.

“That’s why these plans must be developed with input from people with a range of expertise and interests from industry, government and community.”

The NSW Minerals Council has published the Stakeholder Workshop Report reviewed by three members of the community and a guide to the next steps, including:

Land use planning forum

Water Forum

Air quality and health information session

Weeds blitz

Better information and rehabilitation

Ongoing advocacy for a greater share of infrastructure spending in the Hunter; and

Assessment of education, training and employment opportunities.

“The Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue is a first for the mining industry in Australia that has allowed the community to set the agenda through stakeholder survey, community information sessions, one-on-one meetings and most recently the stakeholder workshop,” Tan said.

“There are going to be more opportunities for people to have a say because this is not something we can do on our own.

“Some stakeholders told us they want to be involved in specific issues, while others may want to come along to the broader forums and information sessions to help shape action plans.

“The region’s coal producers know they have to do things differently to minimise the cumulative impacts of mining.

“We never thought it would be easy to address the challenges that have emerged from the growth of the industry or that the solutions would be a simple ‘quick fix.’

“But the desire in the community and the industry to work together to address these challenges has been heartening and it will need to be the linchpin for sustaining this process.”

Image: The ABC

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