Economic development in focus at the annual Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue Workshop

The need to continue investing in the economic development of the Upper Hunter region was one of the leading issues discussed at the recent Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue Workshop.

The Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue was established in 2010 to encourage deeper conversations about how local miners and the community can work better together.

“Since that first meeting in Singleton in July 2011 much has changed because that was like a dam bursting where suddenly we found ourselves all around the same table being quite honest with each other,” John Drinan from Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group told the Singleton Argus.

Watch John Drinan’s story on our YouTube Channel

More than seventy people from industry, government, business and the community attended a day-long workshop in Muswellbrook last week to assess the progress of the Dialogue over the past twelve months, to share their feedback and plan the strategy for 2015.

Pictured: Muswellbrook in the Upper Hunter

Participants heard from state government representatives at the Environment Protection Authority, Division of Resources and Energy and Department of Planning and Environment about mine compliance requirements and mining policy developments.

The group developed a number of ideas for dealing with air quality issues, rehabilitation and the future use of mined land, social impacts and improving both government and community relations and communication. This builds upon the efforts already underway in these areas, such as the Housing Study, Weather Forecasting Project and Hunter River Water Quality Assessment.

Click here to read about the industry and community projects under way

The day was a success, with attendees praising the effectiveness of the Dialogue to date.

“I was quite surprised at how much work had been achieved and the real difference [the Dialogue] was making. Hearing from some of the Government Departments clarified the processes, and the research and changes they are doing is encouraging. I think we had a really successful “think tank” in the afternoon session and I really look forward to bringing some of those ideas along with the solid work already achieved,” said Gill Eason from the Singleton Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

View the video below to learn more about why Gill’s business is important to the Upper Hunter

“The meeting was excellent. Not only did it provide ample opportunity to consider the many projects underway through the Dialogue and others by government, but it also encouraged other issues and ideas to be booked for future attention,” Dr Drinan said.

One of those key issues was an overwhelming determination to continue to develop the Upper Hunter economy so it can remain strong through the commodity cycles of the resource sector.

“It reflects the concern in the community about recent job losses in the local mining industry and is a strong recognition of the sector’s importance to the local economy,” said Stephen Galilee, CEO of the NSW Minerals Council,”

​”We will now consider ways that we can work together through the Dialogue to support the development of a strong and diverse Upper Hunter economy​.

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