Australian Mining Cities Alliance set to expand

ALLIANCE: Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch, Broken Hill Mayor Darriea Turley and Kalgoorlie Mayor John Bowler meet in the Isa for Rodeo Week.
ALLIANCE: Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch, Broken Hill Mayor Darriea Turley and Kalgoorlie Mayor John Bowler meet in the Isa for Rodeo Week.

They are three Australian cities thousands of kilometres apart but Mount Isa, Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie-Boulder have a surprising amount in common.

The cities’ civic leaders Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch, Broken Hill Mayor Darriea Turley and Kalgoorlie Mayor John Bowler have come together to be the founding members of the Australian Mining Cities Alliance, which is now attracting the interest of other regional mining area.

ACMA chair John Bowler said the three cities had a similar history and a similar interest.

“As mining towns we face almost identical problems,” Cr Bowler said.

“Whatever problems Mayor Joyce and Mayor Darriea talk about, I think hang on, that’s our town too and vice versa.”

The Alliance was formed in Canberra last year and met earlier this year in Kalgoorlie and this meeting in Mount Isa in Rodeo Week is cementing the relationship.

Cr Bowler said as well as learning from each other the group could also advocate for things together.

“Because of our similar problems, when we’re dealing with the federal government we are speaking with three voices, and a fourth has now joined the Isaac Regional Council in Queensland and we’ve got two other councils in WA who are almost surely going to join.”

Among the issues they would like investigated is the fringe benefit which Cr Bowler said was directly encouraging fly in fly out which he described as a “cancer of the bush”.

Cr McCulloch said her visit to Kalgoorlie earlier in the year made her feel that Mount Isa was not struggling on its own.

“We have got friends out there that do understand, that can support and can collaborate with us to lobby governments,” Cr McCulloch said. “We recognise that there needs to be a lot more cooperation between all different levels of government for our beautiful communities to remain viable in the Australian economy.”

Cr Turley said they were supporting a submission to the federal government around mining and putting forward a list of issues to address.