Mining concerns shared

Concerns about mining in the Upper Hunter dominated last week’s meeting of councils from the region.
Nanjing Night Net

Leaders from Dungog, Gloucester, Singleton, Upper Hunter and Walcha met in Dungog to discuss important issues for the coming year.

The meeting was the sixth in a series of Divisional Tours and covered the impact of mining on local communities and the review of the draft Code of Conduct for councillors.

Shires Association of NSW president Cr Ray Donald said several councils voiced their strong concerns about the impact of mining developments on communities, infrastructure, and the health and well being of townships.

“The impact of coal seam gas and other mining-related issues on communities in this region is of equal importance to the effect of the Murray Darling Basin Plan on communities situated along those rivers,” Cr Donald said. “What also needs to be taken into consideration is the impact that mining has on neighbouring communities and their road networks, which overlap between councils areas.

“Neighbouring communities, like councils with mines in their local government area, deserve to be adequately compensated from royalties paid to the State Government to address urgent infrastructure upgrades.”

Another issue of major concern discussed at the meeting was the NSW Government’s Review of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW.

“The current Model Code of Conduct is a lengthy, cumbersome document written in a way that is far too detailed to act as an easy reference for councillors, and is a deterrent to people thinking of standing for Local Government elections,” Cr Donald said.

“One has to wonder why the current code for councillors is 30 pages plus, compared to the brief code for State MPs which fits on one page – despite the fact that ministers, MPs and councillors represent communities, are answerable to them at regular elections, and whose roles have many similarities.”

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