It is recognised that there is a wide range of community attitudes and experiences regarding coal and coal operations in the Upper Hunter, and as such, there is likely to be a high level of interest in the exploration project.
Consultation is an important part of the project and is being undertaken in line with current government requirements, as outlined in the DRE Guidelines for Community Consultation for Exploration Projects.
The team has spent considerable time and effort talking with landholders and various other stakeholders during the exploration activities completed to date and will continue to do so as exploration progresses. This consultation will continue to support drilling and other exploration activities as they progress.
Ridgelands Coal made a commitment when it submitted its expression of interest for the area covered by EL 8064, that it would establish a $5 million local “Community Fund” to support a series of initiatives that will benefit the local community during the exploration stage of the project. Upon granting of EL8064, the Community Fund requirement was incorporated as a condition of the EL.
To facilitate the administration of the Ridgelands Community Fund an Investment Committee has been established and includes representatives from Ridgelands, Muswellbrook Shire Council and the local Wybong community.
In June 2018 Ridgelands has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking agreement with Resources Regulator (NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment) in which an additional $200,000 was made available to the community fund for projects providing an economic, social or environmental benefit. Details on the enforceable undertaking can be found on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.
Ridgelands Community Fund and the Investment Committee have contributed funding to 45 local projects over three rounds of allocation, to the sum of $5,203,244.28.
Nine local initiatives from Round 1 were the receipt of a combined total of $548,565.00, as outlined in Table 1.
|First Round Funding|
|Denman-Sandy Hollow Junior Rugby League Club||Denman Recreation Ground Grandstand|
|"Hunter Valley Aboriginal Corporation (HVAC)"||"NAIDOC 2018 ""Because of her, We Can"" Celebrations Sponsorship of Art awards, promotion and prizes"|
|"Hunter Valley Aboriginal Corporation (HVAC)"||Sustainability Hub, Penguins Community Garden Group|
|Muswellbrook Men's Shed Incorporated||Recycling Facility - Fund Raising|
|Muswellbrook Shire Council||Ridgelands Precinct Road Safety Improvements Investigation|
|Muswellbrook Shire Council||Sandy Hollow Masterplan Works|
|Muswellbrook Shire Council||Upper Hunter Innovation Hub|
|"Upper Hunter Education Fund Inc. (UHEF)"||Upper Hunter Education Fund|
|Wybong Public Hall Inc||Maintenance and improvement Program|
For any general enquiries regarding the Ridgelands Community Fund and Investment Committee, please phone 1800 137 958 or email email@example.com.