Lithgow miners have their say at Community Cabinet meeting

March 13, 2014

NSW Government Cabinet members came face to face with local miners in Lithgow on Monday 10th March as part of the government’s regular Community Cabinets programme.

A huge crowd of about 300 local residents turned up to quiz the government on issues that ranged from Council Local Environmental Plans, indigenous affairs, local school sizes, the Rural Fire Service, the need for speed cameras along Mount Victoria pass, the representation of women in politics and rural showground funding. 

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The local mining industry was well represented with employees from Centennial Coal, Northparkes Mine and Coalpac turning out in their hi-viz gear; a clear message that mining is an important part of Central Western NSW.

“What was important about this Community Cabinet from our perspective, was that our miners had the opportunity to ask some very poignant questions on issues directly affecting mining in the local area and across NSW,” commented Katie Brassil, General Manager of External Affairs at Centennial Coal.

Centennial Coal Western Region Manager, Mick Cairney, asked Premier Barry O’Farrell why NSW was still waiting for the government’s election commitment to fix the planning system to be fulfilled. Mick highlighted the significant impact this was having on business certainty across the state, particularly in mining.

The Premier pointed to the previous government having left such a broken system, and the fact that the current Government had attempted to reform the planning legislation, but was blocked in the Upper House by Labor, the Greens and the Shooters. Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard also highlighted Labor’s opposition to the legislation and reiterated the government’s commitment to restoring business confidence.

Northparkes Mines General Manager, Stefanie Loader, raised the recently released Fraser Institute assessment of mining jurisdictions, which rated NSW as the least desirable place to invest in Australia.  Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner addressed this, indicating that the government was aware of issues surrounding business and investor confidence in NSW and was committed to restoring certainty. 

The true importance of mining companies and their employees, as well as suppliers, attending NSW Community Cabinets when they take place in mining regions, is to send a clear message to our elected leaders - ‘mining is an important part of this community and we intend make our voices heard’.

With the NSW election only 12 months away, it’d be great to see as many of our miners as possible turn up to each and every NSW Community Cabinet meeting that rolls into our mining regions.

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