The NSW Minerals Council says close to 9000 jobs in the Hunter Valley are at risk due to the state’s “broken” planning system.
The council is counting the costs after a PAC decision this week rejected Anglo American's proposal to extend Drayton mine, a move which could result in the loss of 500 jobs.
NSW Minerals Council boss Stephen Galilee said the outcome made a “mockery of the claim that NSW is open for business”.
Galilee took a firm swipe at the government for shirking its responsibility in the decision making process.
“Delegating state significant decisions to an unelected body like the PAC is a failure of leadership from the NSW Government. It's an attempt to avoid the responsibility that comes with being in office, and it's a betrayal of the working people who will have to live with the consequences of these poor outcomes,” Galilee said.
The council said if current project applications are not given the tick of approval, 2,300 new construction jobs, 2,200 new operational mining jobs, and more than 4,000 ongoing jobs are at risk in the Hunter Valley.
Galilee said unemployment in the region has risen 3 per cent since the state government took office, with more than 3000 jobs stripped out of mining in the last two years.
He said unless the planning system was fixed, more job opportunities would be affected in the region.
“Even in these tough times for mining, there’s opportunity for over 4,500 new jobs for the Hunter, but the planning system is putting this opportunity at risk," Galilee said.
"The Hunter needs jobs, yet we have a planning system that is costing jobs, and putting thousands more at risk."
“There are 500 people at Drayton mine are devastated at the likely loss of their jobs thanks to this government's planning system. And with another 1300 jobs at risk at Mount Thorley Warkworth, people will be asking 'is my job next?'"
“The NSW Government knows the system is broken. They tried to replace it with a new planning system last year but were blocked in the Parliament.”
Galilee called for "urgent and meaningful" reform of the planning process in order to protect jobs and restore confidence.
Georgina Woods from Lock the Gate Alliance has accused both the mining lobby and the state’s coal industry of hypocrisy.
She said PAC has only knocked back two of around 30 coal mine proposals over the last two years.
"The hypocrisy is appalling,” Woods said.