COUNCIL is encouraging major quarry companies to establish a community enhancement program similar to the Veolia Mulwaree Trust.
Mayor Geoff Kettle is leading the discussions with Boral and Holcim about the initiative.
But for now, Council is settling for something less, at least with one firm.
Boral has proposed a community plan during the construction phase of its Peppertree Quarry at Marulan. It is also linked with its Marulan South Limestone quarry, proposed for expansion.
The plan provides for community events and initiatives such as promotion of the Goulburn Mulwaree region, mayoral charity and business functions; indigenous community events and programs; local heritage conservation; sponsorship of Tallong Apple Day and Marulan Kite Festival and backing of an annual project together with a local business organisation.
Council general manager Chris Berry told a recent meeting the plan was “satisfactory” for the construction phase.
“However, for the longer term there needs to be a Goulburn Mulwaree wide focus and greater transparency, certainly over the level of community contributions,” he said.
“Council and its representatives on (Boral’s) community consultative committee should continue to advocate for this approach.”
Mr Berry argued that a broader outlook, similar to the Trust’s, was warranted due to the wider impact that industry had and the role Council played in supporting smaller communities.
Cr Kettle agreed.
He told the meeting that large developers in the council area’s north generally looked after the community.
“They have done for years but I also think we should encourage them to be good corporate citizens and make a cents-per-tonne contribution similar to the Veolia Mulwaree Trust,” he said.
“Boral does not go into production until 2014.”
The Mayor is a Trust director and sits on the Boral and Holcim community consultative committees. He told the Post he was happy to endorse Boral’s initial plan but wanted something more substantial once the quarry went into production.
Cr Kettle said in early talks Boral representatives told him they’d be happy to consider such a scheme.
Marulan District Chamber of Commerce president David Humphreys has also advocated a Trust-style community enhancement program for the quarries. He is also a member of Holcim’s consultative committee.
He’s proposed a one cent per tonne/annum contribution from not just Holcim and Boral but Gunlake and other quarries.
Some companies have so far baulked at the proposal, preferring ‘targeted help’ instead.
The Holcim and Boral hard rock quarries represent a $450m investment in the area.
The Veolia Mulwaree Trust has invested $5.98m into Goulburn Mulwaree and six neighbouring council areas since its establishment in late 2003, manager Vanessa Toparis confirmed.
Out of this, Goulburn Mulwaree has received 52 per cent or $2.747m.
Veolia channels $2.89 per tonne of putrescible waste received at the Woodlawn Bioreactor into community enhancement. Eighty per cent goes to the Trust while Goulburn Mulwaree Council receives 20pc for projects.
Earlier this year councillors decided to allocate $1.6m in host fees to the new multi-use centre at Recreation Area.
The Trust itself has pledged $500,000 to this project.
Tarago based Cr Denzil Sturgiss fully endorsed a trust-like initiative for the quarries.
“And I’d like to see it written somewhere that every time a major developer sets up here they make a contribution to the community.”
Boral had not returned calls by the time of going to press.