Community, government and mining join forces on air quality

Upper Hunter residents, mining companies and government representatives have joined forces over the last two days to discuss practical ways of understanding, monitoring and managing air quality.

The two community sessions at Muswellbrook and Singleton are an initiative of the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue, which brings together the regions coal producers, community groups and local and state government to address the impacts of mining.

“The mining industry takes the issue of air quality seriously. Hunter coal miners are part of the Hunter community, raise families in the Hunter and breathe the same air as everyone else,” NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee, said.

“Over the past three years we’ve all learned a great deal about air quality in the region. And now, industry, government and community, are putting that information to work through practical initiatives to manage and reduce emissions from mining and other sources such as woodsmoke”, Mr Galilee said.

Upper Hunter residents were provided with updates on the current state of air quality in the Upper Hunter and air quality initiatives underway. Matt Riley from the Office of Environment and Heritage spoke about the results of three years of monitoring air quality in the Upper Hunter. Scott Brooks, Department of Environment and Planning and Adam Gilligan, Environment Protection Authority, told the community about their agencies initiatives in cooperation with the mines, to reduce emissions.

Peter Forbes from Anglo American’s Drayton mine presented on practical examples of how government, the Dialogue and mine initiatives were working on the ground. “I have lived in the Valley for over 15 years. I’ve raised my family here, so air quality is an important issue for us”, Mr Forbes said. “Over the last four years, significant steps have been taken to improve our understanding of the region’s air quality and to address community concerns.”

Dr John Drinan from the Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group, opened the sessions. “These sessions, now in their third year, are excellent opportunities to learn more about air quality, a matter of much concern to Hunter residents. The presentations from experts and miners show that a lot is being done to understand the issues better and reduce air pollution,” Dr Drinan said.

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