Shenhua Watermark has finalised negotiations with Gunnedah Shire Council over its Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) with Gunnedah Shire Council which will see $18 million spent in the community over the 30-year life of the project, if approved.
Shenhua Watermark Project Manager Paul Jackson said the VPA would help upgrade community facilities and infrastructure needed to service the population increase expected in the Shire.
Shenhua Australia's CEO, Mr Wang Ningbo said, "Over the past five years, Shenhua has committed $5 million to the regional community through the Project's Community Fund to support the development of the region's economy, enhance and maintain the environment, improve important indigenous and local facilities and develop and promote training and employment opportunities."
"This VPA is a natural extension of this philosophy and demonstrates the company's commitment to being a part of the local community over the 30 year life of this project," Mr Wang Ningbo said.
Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor Clr Owen Hasler thanked Shenhua Watermark for the company's efforts during the negotiations.
"We are pleased that Council and Shenhua Watermark have reached an in-principle agreement in respect of the components and quantum of the VPA" Clr Hasler said.
"Council's representatives were pleased with the fact that the discussions took place in a positive and mutually respectful climate recognising that both parties were seeking a result which would support the project, should it gain planning approval, while providing appropriate compensation for the projected impacts caused to our local government area.
"We thank Mr Liu, Mr Wang and Mr Jackson for the professional manner in which they represented Shenhua Watermark in the negotiations," Clr Hasler said.
Under the terms of the VPA, which will be binding after the Project is approved, Shenhua will provide Gunnedah Shire Council:
• A $6 million lump sum amount to be applied to the construction of a facility for the benefit of the community in the local government area (community facility);
• Up to $500,000 for the detailed engineering and preparation of tender documentation for the community facility;
• $0.06c per tonne of product coal produced from the Project during the period of the approval.
The Voluntary Planning Agreement document will now be drafted for consideration and execution by Shenhua Watermark and Council.
Photos courtesy of Namoi Valley Independent