Mines say Ulan Road funding plan is fair 

Glencore Xstrata’s Ulan Coal, Moolarben Coal and Peabody’s Wilpinjong Mine have stated that the NSW Government’s strategy is a “fair and reasonable share of costs” between the region’s mines and Mid-Western Regional Council. 

Responding to comments by Mayor Des Kennedy last week, the mines said the Department of Planning and Infrastructure would see the mines providing 60 per cent of the $33.5 million for capital works and ongoing maintenance, or $20.1 million in funding.

 “We accept without question that we have a responsibility to contribute to an upgrade that is important to the safety and welfare of the local community,” a mines spokesman said last week. 

“However, we believe the contributions should be fair and reasonable. 

“The funding determination considered evidence from all parties and included an  independent engineering review. 

“This showed that significant portions of Ulan Road did not meet the minimum requirements under Austroads standards for the local traffic identified in traffic studies.

“That is council’s responsibility, and the funding allocation has taken this and future  maintenance into consideration.”

The mines spokesman said as part of the NSW Government’s regional road network funding, the council also receives an annual Roads & Maritime Services Regional Road Block Grant for Ulan Road which would equate to $5.4 million over the 20 year life of the Ulan Road Strategy. 

 “We therefore agree with the funding proposed by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure.”

The mines said they were prepared to support any application from council for additional federal grants and NSW Government funding. 

 “But just like our employees, as ratepayers we also expect council to invest in the  development of local infrastructure and improve its maintenance of local assets.”

The spokesman said council criticism of the funding proposal and the three mines was  disappointing. 

“Coal mining in Ulan has been part of this region for 90 years,” he said. 

“The three mines currently provide direct employment for more than 3000 employees and contractors. 

“We have each created a number of community partnerships that contribute significantly to improvements in health, education and welfare in the area.

“We have also assisted council with contributions to infrastructure development that total more than $20million over the past five years, over and above annual payment of almost $3 million in rates.

“Any suggestion that we are not committed to improving services and supporting the local community is well wide of the mark.”

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