Minister thanks miners for hard work, but stops short of endorsing new projects

September 08, 2014

NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, has thanked the Hunter
 business community for employing thousands of people in mining across the region and acknowledged the economic challenges facing 
​the mining industry

But the Minister stopped short of endorsing two key projects, Coal & Allied’s Mount Thorley Warkworth extension and Anglo American’s Drayton South project, which are currently being assessed and would save the jobs of 1,800 miners that are currently at risk of being lost if the projects aren’t approved.  

Addressing the Hunter Business Chamber’s quarterly mining lunch in Newcastle, Minister Roberts said that the Hunter region’s mining sector was critical to the state’s economy.

"NSW is a mining state. We have always been a mining state. We are now and will be one in the future
​," he said.​

"No region plays a more prominent role in the prosperity of the state and I thank you for taking the risks that you do. And I thank you for helping to deliver the royalties that pay for services and infrastructure. Thank you for the roads. Thank you for the hospitals. Thank you for the schools. 

“You have in me a minister that understands that these are tough times for your industry. 

"Can Government help? Yes it can. Does that mean removing red and green tape? Yes it does. And does it mean making more about the transparency in how we manage the state’s resources? Yes it does."  

NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee thanked the Minister for acknowledging the difficulties facing our miners 
​and, in a question from the floor,
 asked him to take the community’s concerns back to his Cabinet colleagues.

"Jobs have been lost. And I understand that there is a person behind that number, families behind that number and a business that employed that person. I want to see those figures turn around
​," Minister Roberts said​

"I will take the message back again. But the message I will take back today is how strong the business community is here. The state still has 18 billion tonnes of coal resources and the medium to long term forecasts for the coal industry remains positive."

Minister Roberts also committed to continuing to 
​simpler regulation that encourages business activity and investment while maintaining the appropriate protections for the environment and community.​

“We were relieved to see the revocation of the carbon tax and the dud mining tax. I’m very glad to see its demise. The more that we can remove the dead hand of government from everyday life, the better.

"What we are responsible for is good government and good regulation, not over regulation. And we’re responsible for making this region a good place for investment. We want to give people, up front, commitments about whether projects can progress."

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