Muswellbrook Shire Council established the Future Fund six years ago to ensure that some of the vast benefits of the thermal coal mining and thermal coal power generation industries flowed to future generations. In the shorter term, the Fund sponsors projects and initiatives to create jobs and improve education and training outcomes in the local community.
The Future Fund has restored several heritage buildings in the Shire including Loxton House, Weidmann Cottage and Campbell’s Corner, consolidated carparking in the town centre and improved the quality of the commercial building stock. It has also provided education infrastructure – including buildings for the University of Newcastle, the town campus of TAFE, a purpose-built space for the Conservatorium of Music and a residential student accommodation facility. Recently Council added a commercial building in Canberra to its Future Fund portfolio.
Muswellbrook Shire Council, centrally located in the Upper Hunter Valley, supports its community of 17,000 residents with infrastructure, cultural, recreational, education and community facilities and services. And that for almost 150 years, coal mining in the Shire has been as a key local industry and employer and together with thermal coal power generation accounts for a significant proportion of the Shire’s employment.
“Council established the Future Fund in 2014 to secure the economic future of the Shire and its Council and to assist in the process of economic diversification and transition. Objectives of the Future Fund include supporting local industry and the facilitation of new and emerging industries, and to help secure ongoing job opportunities for local workers” – Mayor Martin Rush.
The Future Fund Committee was established under the NSW Local Government Act 1993. The Committee, which has at least two external members, reviews the budget and assets of the Future Fund to ensure that the objectives of the Fund are met. The Committee acts as an advisory body to Council and senior management on issues relating to acquisition, development, demolition or disposal of the Fund’s assets.