Whitehaven Coal recognises that creating social and economic value in the communities in which the company operates is critical for the success of our business.
Our focus is on programs that can deliver greatest long-term benefits to the local communities that host our operations. Engagement with local communities happens in a variety of ways. Whitehaven regularly reports activities to community consultative committees and through newsletters, media releases and advertising while feedback can be provided through a dedicated office in the Gunnedah central business district.
The company carries out formal consultations, carries out an annual community survey and holds community days including this year hosting a family day at the Maules Creek and Werris Creek mines along with numerous site visits by community and local interest groups.
The local community supports our approach. A survey carried out by Newgate Research revealed that 66% of people in Gunnedah support mining and Whitehaven Coal has the strongest reputation in the region among mining companies who have coal mines in the Gunnedah Basin.
Measuring Social and Business Value
Since 2013 Whitehaven Coal has contributed around $1 billion to the North West NSW region. This is made up of wages to employees, payment to councils for community projects, support for local businesses and suppliers and donations to community groups and organisations.
In FY2017 Whitehaven spent $237.7 million in the Gunnedah, Narrabri, Tamworth and Liverpool Plains regions. The company committed $3.5 million to local infrastructure and service upgrades last year and last year made 90 annual charitable grants, donations and sponsorships to community groups. This support focuses on programs supporting health, education, representative level Indigenous sport and whole of community benefit.
Each mine has a voluntary planning agreement with the relevant council. More than $13.4 million has been distributed to council projects through the Maules Creek Voluntary Planning Agreement which has funded the Narrabri airport upgrade and improved water supply infrastructure at Baan Baa. Over the past three years, various Boggabri projects have received $800,000.
Among the major activities supported this year included the Narrabri Education Foundation, Boggabri Multi Purpose Centre, Narrabri Education Foundation, Narrabri, Gunnedah and Quirindi Shows, North Narrabri, Boggabri Drovers Campfire, Boggabri Health, Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Narrabri, Girls Academy, Narrabri and Gunnedah Education Fund and a range of other community organisations.