1 July 2020

Vickery Extension Project to deliver $7.5m boost to projects in the Gunnedah Shire

Whitehaven Coal has announced it has agreed a $7.5 million-dollar Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) with Gunnedah Shire Council for the Vickery Extension Project which will help fund important community projects in the Gunnedah Shire.

Should the Extension Project be approved, the VPA will include a $500,000 initial payment on approval then another $500,000 on commencement of mine construction, followed by ongoing annual payments throughout the life of the project. At peak production, this will mean regular contributions of more than $260,000 each year.

The VPA will allow the Council to identify and fund new projects in the local community like road upgrades, building or improving local parks and other community spaces as well as other new community facilities and infrastructure upgrades.

Whitehaven Coal Managing Director and CEO, Paul Flynn, said the VPA was an important step in ensuring local communities continue to be the primary beneficiaries of the developments in their area.

“Ensuring local communities are the key beneficiary of our presence is a bedrock principle of ours. We like to hire locals, work with local businesses and support local community groups or charities whenever we can.

“We are proud of the contribution we are able to make to the local economy and want to continue to build on this into the future,” Mr Flynn said.

The Vickery Extension Project will:

  • Generate around 500 jobs during the construction phase and roughly 450 jobs during operations, adding to the company’s existing 2,400 strong workforce, around 75 percent of whom live locally.
  • Contribute $271 million in additional wages that will help stimulate and support local businesses and the economy.
  • Contribute a net economic benefit to NSW of $1.2 billion from the additional tax revenue and royalties – money that will help fund schools, hospitals, roads and other state government priorities.

All approved Whitehaven Coal Projects have included a VPA. Over the years, these have funded improvements across North West NSW including road, main street, airport and water supply upgrades that benefit the whole community.

“Council welcomes the finalisation of negotiations around the Project VPA, with Council unanimously resolving its position on the agreement,” said Eric Groth, Gunnedah Shire Council General Manager.

“The financial contribution being made by Whitehaven under the VPA will enable the funding of community projects in line with the Council integrated planning framework.

“Council recognises and appreciates that the financial contribution under the VPA is only one aspect of a multifaceted program of Whitehaven’s support for the community of Gunnedah Shire and the broader Gunnedah Basin.”

VPA funding is in addition to Whitehaven’s discretionary sponsorships and donations, which in FY19 totalled $515,000 in support to organisations including the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Gunnedah and Narrabri, the Clontarf Foundation and the Girls Academy.

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