Community, government and industry representatives take part in Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue's Annual Forum

COMMUNITY, government and industry representatives took part in another "talk fest" at the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue's (UHMD) Annual Forum last month.

A record turnout of 160 people gathered at the Singleton Civic Centre on November 19 for the event, with a combined goal of developing ideas aimed at making the Upper Hunter a better place for all to live.

After eight years since the dialogue's inception, the conference continues to draw a wide range of attendees with important interests and views.

UHMD chair Sarah Withell welcomed the diversity of representation as an opportunity for "truly respectful engagement".

"The annual forum is an important event for the Upper Hunter to help shape the dialogue's path moving forward," she said.

"It provides an opportunity for people to make a difference through respectful dialogue and work on outcomes together.

"Ideas for projects and potential solutions to the current issues are discussed and developed by attendees with all having the chance to contribute their views.

"All of the ideas discussed at the forum will now be further analysed and prioritised by the dialogue's working groups - which are made up of community, government and industry representatives - and likely initiate new projects.

"By listening to concerns, collectively taking action and developing solutions, everyone can prosper."

In fact, at this year's forum, attendees witnessed the launch of the dialogue's new procurement hub, which was developed by the Economic and Social Development Working Group the formation of which was an idea arising from discussion in 2018.

Attendees also heard from Division of Resources and Geoscience executive director Stephen Wills who provided an update on the NSW Government's long-term land use planning projects and activities.

As well, preliminary data on a project evaluating air quality changes in the Upper Hunter and other regions was presented at the forum.

This seeks to understand how the air quality has altered in the area and if this is consistent within NSW.

Preliminary information shows similar results across the regions being compared but will be further analysed before a final report is released.

The 2019 forum also featured 27 displays from mining companies, NSW Government agencies, local government, community and business groups, which allowed attendees to discuss environmental issues or network face-to-face with the mining and business experts on procurement opportunities.