Singleton Council and YanCoal have formalised a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) associated with its Mount Thorley operations that will potentially deliver $11 million to the community over the next 15 years.
The agreement was signed on Friday, with an up-front payment of $2 million to be paid within 28 days.
The life of the agreement comprises $6.6 million for a Bulga Community Project Fund to support the sustainability of the Bulga village and surrounds, including the implementation of the Bulga Village Master Plan, and $4.4 million for a Singleton Economic Development Fund to contribute to economic development initiatives within the Singleton local government area with a view to reinforcing the future sustainability of the local economy.
In signing the agreement, YanCoal accepted Council’s resolution to endorse the VPA when it was considered at an extraordinary meeting on 5 June 2017 with the removal of clause 5b that related to the possibility of the closure of Wallaby Scrub Road.
Mark Ihlein, Council’s Director Infrastructure and Planning, said the conclusion of the VPA opened up significant opportunities to benefit the people of Singleton and Bulga in particular.
“The VPA is a formal arrangement to offset the impacts of the Mt Thorley-Warkworth westward expansion with a substantial investment in projects to benefit the Bulga community and the Singleton economy generally,” he said.
“With the agreement now in place, the community will see the benefits immediately with $2 million to be paid within the first month of the life of the agreement and a further $2 million in early 2018.
“The VPA is a tremendous outcome for Singleton, representing about 1.5% of the capital investment of the mine expansion where previous negotiated VPAs have represented approximately 1% of capital investment.
“After a long process to reach this point, Council will commence the establishment of the committee to oversee the funds in February 2018 and I’m confident the community will soon be celebrating the outcomes that will come as a result of this agreement.”