Statement Concerning Comments Made by Cr Steve Reynolds Concerning Proposed Additional Mining Op

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Council understands that Cr Steve Reynolds has alleged in correspondence to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) and to local media that the first he was aware of Council’s position was “from the IPC transcript and related media”. He also claims that he “has since spoken to other councillors who were in the same position.”

With respect to the last point, Council notes that the only other councillor who makes that allegation is Cr Graeme McNeill.

The IPC has the power to do three things:

  1. approve the mining application unconditionally (that is, without any conditions),
  2. approve the mining application conditionally, or
  3. refuse the application.

Council’s position was first communicated to Cr Reynolds (and all councillors – including Cr Graeme McNeill) on 13 September 2019. (A copy of the email and submission is available as an attachment to this statement on council’s website.) All councillors were given an opportunity to comment on the content of the submission. Council’s position is clear, and the primary concerns can be stated briefly as follows:

  1. the cumulative assessment of ecology required of the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements is entirely absent,
  1. despite a requirement to minimise the number and size of voids, the applicant had not (and has still not) disclosed its methodology in arriving at its view that it should be permitted to increase the number and cumulative size of voids, and
  1. the mining application is inconsistent with Council’s adopted Mining-affected Road Network Strategy.

Cr Steve Reynold’s further alleges that the process leading to the delegation of the submission to staff officers was “very ambiguous and states ‘providing advice'”. He relies on a resolution of Council of 22 December 2020. Cr Steve Reynold’s omits the fact, however, that the resolution of delegation occurred not on 22 December 2020 but on 27 August 2019. He was present at the meeting and voted in support of the resolution and delegation. A resolution was made in similar terms on 30 June 2020.

Council organised for Cr Steve Reynolds and Cr Graeme McNeill (and other councillors) to attend a site visit at the applicant’s mine on 18 November 2020. A copy of the applicant’s presentation was also provided to councillors. Other councillors had also attended the mine site at other times.

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