Strong support from the business community for MTW as PAC considers verdict

January 15, 2015

Local businesses are getting behind Rio Tinto’s proposed Mount Thorley Warkworth continuation project as the NSW Planning Assessment Commission considers the proposal, set to save 1,300 jobs if approved.
 
Hundreds of people have spoken out in support of mine’s on-going operation in recent months, including around 2,000 members of the public who have pledged their support at voiceformining.com.au confirming just how important the project is to the community.
 
Kristen Keegan from the Hunter Business Chamber is a sixth generation Australian from the Hunter Valley and knows personally the significant role that coal mining plays in the Hunter’s history, having had a number of family members working in the industry. 
 
“We can turn this debate into something very dry, but we all know, that regardless of our stance on this project, this is about people,” she said.
 
“Keegans were working at Muswellbrook Coal over 100 years ago… the reality is that people employed in mining are crucial members of the local community and probably founding members of it too.” 

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Pictured: December's PAC Hearing in Singleton. Source: Newcastle Herald
 
Kristen was one of 80 speakers at Decembers PAC hearing, along with Peter Jordan, District President from the CFMEU, who emphasised the need to preserve Hunter jobs at a time when thousands in the local industry have lost their jobs.
 
"The Hunter Region desperately needs this economic boost because in the last two years, it's our understanding, that we've seen almost 2,000 coal miners in the Hunter lose their jobs," Mr Jordan told ABC News
 
"In 18 months, unemployment in the region has risen from 5.8 per cent to 8.4 per cent. The region just cannot afford to lose this mine."
 
If approved, the Mount Thorley Warkworth project will provide ongoing employment for 1,300 workers and hundreds of businesses supplying the mine in the Hunter and even in Sydney.
 
“It is in everyone’s best interests that the Hunter has a stronger and more diverse economy and community into the future,” Ms Keegan also told the Planning Assessment Commission at the hearing.
 
“We should never forget that many of the privileges our society enjoys are a direct result of a strong mining industry.” 
 
The Planning Assessment Commission expects to make its final recommendation on the Mount Thorley Warkworth project by late February 2015 as the mine workers, their families and hundreds of supplying businesses wait anxiously to hear about their futures.

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