November 12, 2012

RSWUA General Meeting Minutes 4.11.2012 1

Held at Running Stream Hall 
Meeting commenced  3 pm 
Present: The Committee and 17 members of the Association 
Apologies: There were no apologies recorded 
Item I: Special Resolution – Adoption of Model Constitution 
The motion, recommended by the Committee, 
That Running Stream Water Users Association adopt the Model Constitution prepared by the Dept of Fair Trading to replace the present Rules was unanimously adopted 

The meeting was then addressed by Mitchell Clapham who spoke about access agreements. He gave an update on the latest developments with access agreements, being that Greg and Christine Reeves and Centennial went to mediation to try to get agreement on their access agreement. The arbitrator basically ruled in favour of all that Centennial wanted to have in the document and the Reeves’ requirements were over-ruled. 
In brief, he noted: 
NSW Farmers is not happy with the NSW Government’s draft Strategic Land Use Policy. 
NSW Farmers has also been working for the last 2 years with the Minerals Council to get a template for a standard access agreement drafted. The template has now been launched but NSW Farmers is still very unhappy with it. 
The ‘Denman group’, of which he is a member, has been working with Centennial to try to draft a template for a standard access agreement. So far this has not happened, mainly because of the issue of amount of compensation and minimum standard of road access. Members of the group want to have Mid-Western Regional Council’s minimum standard for gravel roads adopted . (as the minimum standard, but) Centennial contest this, John Sandona verbally saying that their roads would actually need to be above this standard, but then later their legal people saying that standard was excessive. 
Centennial and Greg & Christine Reeves have been to mediation over the Reeves’ access agreement. No proper agreement on compensation was reached at the mediation. It was simply noted that landholders would have to demonstrate a compensable loss for any compensation to be paid. 
The Mining Act provides for compensable loss for farmers in Sections 262 and 263; however it is argued by Centennial that the farmer’s time spent in mediation is not compensable. There are few precedents set in court for compensable loss because most mining agreements are made in mediation or settled on the steps of court, not the courts. Mitchell himself for example has spent at least two full days on negotiations with Centennial relating to his own property and his time spent on this matter is apparently not compensable. He said he would like to be paid at least $100/hr for his time (noting that Centennial‘s legal representatives are probably paid far more than this), but Centennial laywers point out that the landholders time is not listed in the Act as a compensable item . Only things real and tangible are compensable does not acknowledge his time as a compensable loss. 
As the meditation failed, both parties then put in a written submission to the Aribitrator. The Reeves did theirs on their own while Centennial had their legal team put together an 11 page document 
RSWUA General Meeting Minutes 4.11.2012 2 

pointing out that the Arbitrator was constrained by what was in the Mining Act, plus another 80 pages of examples of previous cases 
Mitchell feels that Centennial is playing hardball and is not going to compensate people properly at all, despite what they have said verbally and generally about paying all compensable losses. He said he feels they have not treated the Reeves or the other members of the Denman group with respect and decency. He also 
The bottom line is that the landholder does not have much negotiating power at all. 

The meeting finished at 4.30 pm. 

N.B. There is a town and village forum to be held at Ilford Hall at 1 pm on Wednesday 14 November by the Mid-Western Regional Council. Members are encouraged to attend and to put any concerns (whether related to the proposed mine at Running Stream or other concerns) to the council representatives. Please note that we have been advised that  if people dont turn up, then Ilford will be dropped as a forum venue.

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