In the third video in our Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue story series, we hear from Di Sneddon, former editor of the Singleton Argus and Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue participant as she remembers the “icy” start of the dialogue and the hurdles that the group has overcome.
“In the beginning I was hopeful that it would work as we were getting into a desperate situation where there was so much mining going on and the community felt that they had no connection or communication with the industry which meant they were starting to get angry. The first meeting that we went to was very prickly”
She recalls extremely differing views at the start.
“The coal company said it’s lovely to be able to see a mine in operation and I said when I’m driving along the highway I actually quite like to see trees.”
However the contrast between then and now is remarkable, with Di describing their most recent meeting as “friendly and very respectful” partly due to participants being able to see tangible results from their ongoing conversations.
John Richards from The Bloomfield Group says it’s been an eye opener for everyone.
“The Dialogue has been a great step forward for relationships between mining companies and the communities around them. People are now talking about the real issues, not assumptions and fabricated issues.”
And finally in this video we hear from Gerard Gleeson, an Environmental Specialist at Coal & Allied, who hopes the same model can be used as a ‘flagship’ for other areas throughout Australia.
“I’d really us to be able to look back in years to come and see that the dialogue has been successful. And that model that could be replicated, showing how collaboration can improve the relationship between industry and community members.”