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Community Education and Community Advisor Grant programs

Community Education and Advisor Programs - Trial for Mining and Quarrying Projects

The Community Education and Advisor Programs aim to assist local communities to participate in environmental and planning assessment processes for major new mining and quarrying projects. As a trial, the programs will provide funding to assist local communities where there are proposed new mining or quarrying projects.

The trial will be run during financial years 2016-17 and 2017-18 and involve:

  • Community Education: workshops, clinics and resources will be delivered locally to community members where there are major new mining and quarrying proposals.
  • The trial programs will be evaluated after two years to determine whether they have helped to build community confidence in the public assessment of earth resource projects. This will include assessing whether communities feel heard and respected during the process, and the impact on community acceptance of the outcome.

  • Community Advisor: funding will be available for eligible not-for-profit community groups to enable them to obtain legal advice and representation during environmental assessment and associated public inquiry processes.

Community Education Grant Program

The Victorian Government has allocated approximately $50,000 to specialist community legal centre Environmental Justice Australia to deliver community education workshops and online resources under the Community Education Grant Program.

The purpose of the Community Education Grant Program is to enable local communities to participate more effectively in the environmental and planning assessment process for proposed mines and quarries.

The education program will better equip local community members to participate in public consultation processes and engage with project proponents and their consultants, including providing guidance for community members on environmental assessment and planning processes and laws, and how to effectively participate in formal processes, such as making submissions and presenting at public hearings. 

The education program will also indirectly help project proponents to better understand and respond to community interests during the assessment processes.

Environmental Justice Australia will deliver workshops and information sessions for local community members in:

  • Glenaladale and surrounding areas in relation to the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process required for Kalbar Resources Ltd's Fingerboards mineral sand mining project in East Gippsland (the Fingerboards proposal)
  • Bunyip North in relation to the EES  process required for Hanson's proposal to develop a quarry in West Gippsland (the Bunyip North Quarry proposal)
  • Stawell in relation to the assessment process for the Big Hill Open Cut gold mine proposal, if Stawell Gold Mines submits a modified proposal (the Big Hill proposal).

The program will be delivered through Environmental Justice Australia's Community Environmental Legal Service as a trial over the next 12 to 18 months.

What are the objectives of the Community Education Grant Program?

The Community Education Grant Program objectives are to:

  • increase community understanding about the relevant environmental and planning assessment process and how this relates to regulation of mining or quarrying under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990
  • build community capability to engage in the assessment process by equipping them to engage with proponents and their consultants and to participate in formal public consultation and inquiry processes 
  • help ensure all potentially affected and interested community members are engaged and able to participate in the assessment processes by supporting people who might otherwise be unlikely or unable to participate
  • deliver an efficient and effective education program that complements consultation requirements and engagement activities undertaken by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and the relevant project proponent
  • evaluate the impact of the community education services on community confidence in mine and quarry environmental impact assessment processes in order to assess the effectiveness of the trial in addressing program objectives.

What will Environmental Justice Australia deliver?

Through its Community Environmental Legal Service, Environmental Justice Australia will deliver:

  • online resources, including fact sheets, about the environmental  and planning assessment process for mines and quarries
  • legal education sessions for local community members in Glenaladale, Bunyip North and Stawell
  • a report evaluating the effectiveness of the education activities, including participants' feedback. 

Where can I get more information?

More information and contact details can be found on the Community Environmental Legal Service website.

Community Advisor Grants

Community Advisor Grants will be open to not-for profit community organisations that seek to represent local community interests during public hearings in relation to the:

Two grants of up to $40,000 will be available to eligible community organisations for the purpose of obtaining legal assistance to participate in public hearings for the Fingerboards, Bunyip North and Big Hill proposals.

Further details of the grant application process and grant requirements will be published prior to public hearings being convened for the proposals.