Hunter Valley Liberals step in to fight for coal industry

Hunter Valley Liberals visited Centennial Coal’s Myuna coal mine yesterday to fight against a Greens policy which plans to end coal mining.

Liberal upper house member Scot MacDonald was accompanied by Port Stephen’s candidate Ken Jordan and Charlestown candidate Jason Pauling.

The men visited the mine to show their support to the hundreds of workers on site.

Mineworker Steve Callen told the Newcastle Herald the Greens policy was an unpopular one at the mine.

‘‘It’s important for people to know how important coal is, and what this means for our jobs,’’ Callen said.

Under the policy, which was announced on Sunday, the Greens want to develop a strategy for phasing out coal mining and place a ban on all new coal mines.

The plan would see an end to all coal exports by 2020, a ban on fossil fuel exploration, and a fast-tracked investment in renewable energy.

It is thermal coal used for electricity generation the Greens have in their sights. The party says it recognises that metallurgical coal is necessary as a feedstock for making steel.

Part of the policy would centre around setting a limit on remaining coal mining in NSW in line with what some scientists conclude will cause minimal harm; less than 600 million tonnes of coal in NSW.

Unsurprisingly, the policy has been met with indignation by those who support the coal mining industry.

NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said the plan to end coal mining shows The Greens are “living in a parallel universe”.

“Coal is our State's most valuable export commodity and directly employs 11,000 people in the Hunter. Coal mining also supports thousands of mining supplier businesses including over 4,200 Hunter businesses that in turn provide more local jobs,” Galilee said.

“Coal also meets over 80% of our state's energy needs, powering our homes, shops, factories, cafes and restaurants. Shutting down the coal industry will drive up electricity prices and lead to massive energy shortages across NSW, further harming homes and businesses.”

Yesterday, Callen said the Greens needed to come to the realisation that renewables alone would not work to power NSW.

Australian Mining readers were also keen to have their say, and the comments came pouring in when the story broke on Monday.


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