Unless Labor and the Coalition stop canoodling up to coal barons and start pulling together a transition plan, the Hunter Valley community will be facing further job losses, said Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon.
“China’s announcement that it will move away from dirty coal is excellent for the environment and people’s health; however, the impact on the Hunter must be taken very seriously,” said Senator Rhiannon.
“Australia must plan and participate in China’s move away from dirty coal and towards renewables.
“One quarter of coal exports that are shipped out of the Port of Newcastle go to China, and this has been a major growth area for the Hunter.
“Washing coal might be an option to comply with China’s new restrictions, but this is not a sustainable solution.
“Lock the Gate has already shown that the mining industry in the Hunter used 88.5 billion litres of water last year.
“Why should farmers and residents in NSW give up any more of their water for the sake of a dying industry?
“The prospect that this compliance would also add $3-5 per tonne to the price of coal further highlights the need to move away from this dirty power source.
“We know what companies do when their profits decline – they fire workers, abandon mine sites and leave degraded land and giant holes in the ground.
“With 12,000 coal jobs gone in the past two years nationally and China’s move away from dirty coal, Labor and the Coalition need to make a plan for an economy that will last longer than it takes to dig a hole in the ground,” said Senator Rhiannon.
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