NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay says coal will remain a significant contributor to the NSW economy and continue to provide jobs in the Hunter for decades to come.
In a key visit to a mine site in the Hunter region Ms McKay reaffirmed Labor’s support for coal and the role it will play in the local and State economy, as it has for over a century.
Ms McKay was visiting the Rix’s Creek Mine north of Singleton with the Federal Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources and the Member for the Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon, and her Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Jobs, Yasmin Catley, as well as Labor’s Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Paul Scully.
It was Ms McKay’s first visit to the wider Hunter region since assuming the role of NSW Labor Leader last month, and just over a week after a Sydney-based independent MP called for the phasing out of coal mining in New South Wales over the next 10 years.
“Coal will continue to have a future under a NSW Labor government,” Ms McKay said.
“It is the lifeblood of this community – it provides tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in royalties to the state’s coffers. We have stood with coal miners and coal mining communities for over a century. We will never turn our back on them.
“Having lived in the Hunter I know how vital coal is to the Hunter – it is the region’s beating heart.”
“Coal puts food on the table and pays the mortgages and bills for many Hunter families.”
A Labor government will continue to take a leadership position on climate change and push for ambitious renewable energy targets for NSW but Ms McKay said this will not be at the expense of jobs.
“NSW needs to diversify its industries so that we are prepared for a future when our energy is coming from different sources - but it does not have to be at the expense of our domestic coal mining industry, the vast majority of which is exported.
“New industries and traditional industries must work together to help address the challenges we face.”
Ms McKay has already made a strong commitment to revive the state’s manufacturing, promising to use the state government’s procurement powers to ensure where possible local workers and materials are used for state infrastructure projects.
This is in stark contrast to the Liberals and Nationals who in their eight years in office have sent offshore an estimated 67,000 jobs and manufacturing contracts worth billions of dollars for trains, trams and buses to Spain, France, Korea, Malaysia and India.
Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Jobs Yasmin Catley said jobs are Labor’s priority.
“Labor will always put local jobs first while the Liberals and Nationals have placed a greater priority on private profits before local workers and their families. Coal mining jobs are the lifeblood of the Hunter and under Labor they will remain that way.”
Labor’s Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Paul Scully said: “NSW Labor wants to see a strong, safe, responsible, well-regulated and sustainable mining industry in NSW.
“Coal mining workers, their families and those in related businesses in the Hunter and the Illawarra have played, and will continue to play, a vital role in the economy, providing jobs and generating income from exports.”