Hunter calls for coal industry plan

June 29, 2013

The NSW Government is being strongly urged to develop a clear strategy that demonstrates its support for a stronger mining sector following a Roundtable of Hunter community and business leaders in Newcastle.

Hunter business and community leaders have signed a joint communiqué stating support in the strongest of terms for coal mining in NSW and the tens of thousands of jobs, royalties and economic activity it generates.

NSW Minerals Council CEO today said that he was concerned about recent large scale job losses in Queensland and warned NSW could be next.

"This is a strategically important industry for this state and the country. But no one, not industry, governments or the community, should be under any illusions about how tough things are at the moment," he said.

"When other industries go through difficulties, governments have been quick to provide policy and financial assistance. We are not asking for handouts, but we are asking for the right policies so that we can continue to operate and responsibly develop the state's mineral resources and go on making a major economic contribution to the state.

"The current NSW planning system is broken. Significant delays are creating uncertainty, very possibly diverting investment interstate and overseas and putting at risk the job security for hundreds of people directly employed in mining in the Hunter. It has to be fixed.

"The Roundtable was a strong show of support for mining from industry and community leaders, unions, manufacturers and professional service providers that supply our mines. Hunter businesses are working hard to diversify and innovate, but they won't survive without mining which is the lifeblood of this region.

"This is a great place to live and work and this is a great industry. But the policy hurdles we face here, coupled with rising costs and falling commodity prices, means we have to work together with business, government and our workforce to build a stronger future.

"I congratulate the Hunter Business Chamber for this initiative and thank Minister for Energy and Resources Chris Hartcher for his contribution."

The Roundtable called on the NSW Government to commit to developing a NSW Government Hunter Coal Industry Strategy that delivers:
  • Ongoing promotion of supply chain opportunities for Hunter industry and business
  • Public infrastructure investment that meets the needs of the Hunter
  • Environmental protection through appropriate levels of regulation
  • Greater public understanding of the rigorous standards in pace to protect the community
  • A skilled workforce to meet the current and future needs if the Hunter economy
  • A robust NSW planning and approvals system that delivers certainty for industry and the region
  • Unambiguous NSW Government support for the industry's ongoing role in the Hunter
  • Recognition of the coal industry's strategic importance for the Hunter region and NSW
  • Commitment to ongoing investment in research and development to produce low emissions energy while remaining cost effective. 
The full communiqué is available on the Hunter Business Chamber website www.hunterbusinesschamber.com.au.

Contact: Lindsay Hermes I lhermes@nswmining.com.au I 0409 758 734

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