18 November 2010

The expansion of mining in Australian resource regions is continuing to place pressure on regional environments and communities.

In regions such as the Bowen and Surat Basins in Queensland, the Hunter Valley and Gunnedah Basins in New South Wales, and the Pilbara in Western Australia, the cumulative impacts arising from overlapping development are significantly challenging the management of environmental, social and economic issues.

These challenges will be discussed at a collaborative university, government and industry forum in Brisbane tomorrow, November 19.

The event, ‘Cumulative Impacts: Coordination and Collaboration’, is the first major forum of its kind to discuss how best to respond to cumulative impacts in Australian resource regions.

The forum has attracted overwhelming interest and will be held at the Christie Centre, 320 Adelaide Street, Brisbane.

The event will be opened by the Queensland Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, The Hon Stirling Hinchliffe MP.

Event sponsors include The Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at The University of Queensland, the Queensland Government, and industry consultancies URS and GHD.

The event is an initiative of the SIA Forum – a network of practitioners working in the fields of impact assessment, impact management and regional governance issues mainly from the resources sector.

The Director of the UQ SMI Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, Professor David Brereton, said a new publication by the Institute and the Australian Coal Association Research Program would be launched at the event.

The publication is entitled: “Cumulative Impacts – A Good Practice Guide for the Australian Coal Mining Industry” (electronic copy here.

“The forum will provide an opportunity for people to discuss cumulative impact assessment and management in a collaborative space,” Professor Brereton said.

“The good practice guide showcases new approaches to governance and examples of coordination and collaboration initiatives between industry, government, community and civil society groups that can assist to respond to cumulative impacts”.

The SIA Forum Working Group includes volunteers from the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland, URS, GHD, Origin Energy, Rio Tinto, Rio Tinto Coal, Worley Parsons, 2Scope, Queensland Resources Council, and Coffey Environmental.

Speakers and panelists will include:
• Phil Dash (Assistant Coordinator-General, Department of Infrastructure and Planning, Queensland Government)
• Lisa Pollard (Manager Strategic Regional Partnerships, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland Government)
• Cr Peter Maguire (Mayor, Central Highlands Regional Council)
• Julie-Anne Braithwaite (Manager Sustainable Development, Rio Tinto Coal Australia)
• John Merritt (Safety Health and Environment Specialist, Anglo American Metallurgical Coal)
• Ken Horton (Manager EIS & Stakeholder, Origin Energy)
• Mal Hellmuth (General Manager, Strategic Economic Projects, Department of Employment Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland Government)
• Professor David Brereton (Director Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland)
• Dr Daniel Franks (Research Fellow, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland)
• Chris Sunderland (Senior Sociologist & Consultation Specialist, URS Australia)

All media inquiries: Daniel Franks, SMI, telephone 0401 451 454.