OPINION: Greens policy 'reckless'

October 11, 2016

As appeared in Newcastle Herald 11th October 2016
Imagine if a political party announced there would be no more beef, wool or wine produced or exported from the Hunter or anywhere in NSW, by 2020. Imagine the impact on jobs, exports and tourism.

The NSW Greens have a policy to end an even bigger industry. Their policy is to abolish the coal industry in NSW within three years, despite the fact that national coal exports are worth $38 billion, more than beef, wheat and wool and wine combined.

In the Hunter, 11,000 workers and their families rely on mining. The industry directly contributed $4.8 billion to the region's economy in the last financial year, including wages, salaries and spending with 3714 local businesses.

This direct spending generated around one quarter of the Hunter's economic activity. The Greens want to end all this by 2020, wreaking economic catastrophe on the Hunter.

No-one really expects serious economic policy from the Greens, but here's the twist. Recently, an outfit called 'The 'Australia Institute' released 'economic analysis' claiming that ending the coal mining industry would have 'minimal economic disruption' on the state economy. Using the Hunter as an example, the report suggested that ending the region's mining industry would barely have an impact. It ignored the lost export and royalty income that would result from ending the coal industry. The report also dismissed the impact of 11,000 direct job losses in the Hunter.

How could such a flimsy piece of work be released in the guise of an 'academic report'? Research reveals the 'Australia Institute' is run by former advisers to the Greens. Like the Greens, the 'Australia Institute' has a long history of campaigning against mining. As demand for energy increases, we need to secure our economic future by supporting our crucial industries.

Stephen Galilee is the CEO of NSW Minerals Council

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