Mr Liu Xiang, Chairman of Shenhua Australia Holdings Pty Ltd and Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Ltd officially opened the Gunnedah Riverine Improvement Project on 20 March 2014.
The Riverine Improvement Project, an initiative of the Rotary Club of Gunnedah, was made possible by the use of funds from the Shenhua Watermark Community Fund.
The Community Fund granted $124,000 to the project in December 2009. The funds have been put to good use with the conservation and protection of the riverine environment, the development of the riparian zone of the Namoi River and adjacent parklands for civic use, and the improvement of recreational and sporting facilities along the foreshore.
Mr Liu said Shenhua Australia is a strong believer in contributing to the communities within which we work. The $5 million Watermark Community Fund was established with the intention of supporting the development of the region's economy, to promote local employment, to enhance and maintain the local environment and also to improve important local facilities.
"The Riverine Improvement Project has successfully fulfilled many of these aims. It is projects like this that allow us to engage with the local community, a critical part of Shenhua's corporate social responsibility.
"A key goal from the project's inception was to reconnect the town with the Namoi River, in order to improve the image of the town and provide more opportunities for outdoor activities.
"I believe this has most definitely been achieved. I have been informed that the project has been well received by the local community and that a number of locals and visitors are already using the walking and cycling track. I am sure that the usage of these facilities will only increase as time goes by and I would like to thank Mayor Owen Hasler and the Gunnedah Shire Council for their significant contribution.
"In their role as the local council, they have been essential to the development and implementation of the Riverine Improvement Project. The Gunnedah Shire Council has been fully invested from the start. That being the case, I have confidence they will prove to be the best possible caretakers for the project, maintaining it for people to enjoy, for many years to come."
Mr Liu said, It has been a pleasure to be involved in this development, and on behalf of Shenhua Australia, I wish all those who have participated the very best for the future.
In response to Mr Liu, Gunnedah Mayor Owen Hasler said, the Riverine area we see today clearly exemplifies what can be achieved when community organisations such as the Rotary Club of Gunnedah, Gunnedah Shire Council, and a funding body, in this case Shenhua Watermark, work together to achieve improved community facilities.
"In so recognizing this achievement, we have to thank Shenhua for their significant contribution to the project which allowed Stage 2 to proceed. This is but part of the considerable $4 million dollars committed to both Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains Shires projects through the Shenhua Watermark Community Fund which will be supplemented by a further $1 million in commitments soon to be announced for this year.
"This is, indeed, a considerable contribution to our communities when you take into consideration that Shenhua have also paid $300 million to the NSW Governement for an exploration licence for the area and have not turned a sod of soil in terms of production as yet."
The Mayor thanked Shenhua Watermark for their generosity and genuine commitment to the community as indicated by this considerable investment of funding. Our community is much the richer and better provided for by the facilities and programmes made possible by their financial support.
Pictured after the unveiling are Rotarian Bob Liester, Mr Wang Ningbo (Shenhua CEO),
Mr Liu Xiang (Shenhua Chairman) and Gunnedah Mayor Owen Hasler
Rotarians pictured with invited guests, Council staff and Councillors and Shenhua
Watermark staff at the official opening of the Gunnedah Riverine Improvement Project