STATE Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts says he believes Gloucester is largely missing out from the benefits of mining in the region.
Mr Roberts made the comments while visiting Gloucester last Thursday.
While in Gloucester he met with community groups Advance Gloucester and Groundswell Gloucester and also spoke with council and toured AGL’s Gloucester Gas Project.
Mayor John Rosenbaum said he had been buoyed by the minister’s visit and comments he had made about council’s efforts in dealing with the mining issue.
“He was very impressed with the way council has handled itself,” the mayor said.
“He acknowledged that no benefits accrue to our region and also understood the need for us to be included in the Resources for Regions program.”
The mayor said the minister had informed council he intended to speak to AGL about its contribution to the community and was also keen to expand the role of the Gloucester Dialogue.
“He told us that any contributions by AGL should be handled by council and funnelled back into the community so that something substantial is left,” he said.
“Minister Roberts was also very keen to make sure the Gloucester Dialogue wasn’t just focused on gas and that it become more encompassing of all mining issues in the region, including cumulative impacts.”
Mr Roberts also spoke on the cumulative impacts of mining in the valley while meeting with representatives from Groundswell Gloucester.
Group vice president David Hare-Scott said the minister had listened to the group about their concerns on the lack of accountability demonstrated by the Office of Coal Seam Gas as well a lack of transparency when making decisions on mine approvals or expansion.
“He gave us assurances that he would look into our concerns,” Mr Hare-Scott said.
“We’ve agreed to provide him with a summary of those concerns and we’re hopeful that the minister will be true to his word that from now on the processes will be transparent and the community will be more involved.”
Members of Advance Gloucester toured the Avon River with the minister and also visited proposed coal seam gas well sites.
“While acknowledging there are concerns that need to be addressed, we were able to use the opportunity to convey a more balanced view of wider community sentiment with regard to existing and proposed resource activity within the region,” Advance Gloucester vice president Rod Williams said.
“We also reaffirmed our concerns should any unlawful protest activity eventuate as a result of extreme activism in the future.”