BHP invited a host of local organisations to the Muswellbrook Race Club last week, to celebrate the success of its community partnerships. The event brought together more than 50 partners and businesses, acknowledging their contribution to building strong and vibrant communities across the Upper Hunter. BHP Mt Arthur Coal’s general manager David Boshoff said the programs delivered by these organisations addressed community needs and delivered real outcomes across the areas of education, health and wellbeing, environment and social inclusion. “We are proud of our partnerships and recognise these initiatives wouldn’t exist without a lot of hard work and dedication by our [community] partners,” he explained. “Our sincerest thanks is extended to our partners for delivering programs that make Muswellbrook and the surrounding areas better places to live and work.” Newly-appointed NSW Energy Coal Asset president Elsabe Muller met residents for the first time at the event, and learnt more about the challenges faced by local communities.&nbsp; Attendees also heard about BHP’s Local Buying Program delivered by C-Res, and how the recent change to 30-day payment terms will make a difference to local businesses. Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice-president Kylie Wilcox said businesses were really excited by BHP’s recent announcement of its 30-day payment terms.&nbsp; “This is a game changer for some of our smaller local businesses,” she said. “It demonstrates that BHP has listened to community concern about the impact of its standard global payment terms locally, and extending preferential terms will add to the region’s sustainability.” The evening also included an introduction to the soon-to-be-launched Local Voices program.&nbsp; This initiative will provide an opportunity for community members to express their views and experiences, through a confidential, monthly survey process run by the CSIRO.&nbsp; The program will launch more formally in 2019.&nbsp; Muswellbrook High School students Katie Van Vliet (Year 12 graduate) and Angus Williams (Year 8), who are also participants of the Graham “Polly” Farmer Foundation (a program sponsored by BHP nationally) emceed the function, which was attended by numerous stakeholders including representatives from Upper Hunter Community Services, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Muswellbrook Men’s Shed, Aberdeen Highland Games, Muswellbrook Race Club, Hunter Life Education and Singleton Council.