The NSW Minerals Council advertising campaign announced today is an extraordinary and out of touch response aimed to deflect attention from the damaging impacts of coal mining on NSW communities, according to the Hunter Community Network.
Spokesperson Bev Smiles said unchecked mining is hurting NSW’s rivers and farmlands, and the health of people forced to live close to mines because of failed Government policy.
The cost shifting onto the community and the environment will be felt for generations, she said.
A weakening global coal market and unprecedented community opposition to the impacts of coal mining has left the industry more desperate than ever to seek special treatment from Government, especially in the Hunter. The industry is shedding jobs at the same time.
“The NSW Minerals Council is pushing for a 'mining at any costs' policy in response to the decline in global markets and dramatic energy shifts in Asia but the cost to Hunter and other communities are too high,” Ms Smiles said.
“The dig coal up now and worry about the future later approach promoted by the mining industry fools no one. It’s a blueprint for a toxic legacy and lasting harm to the Hunter’s our health, land and water.
“NSW needs a structural adjustment package for the mining industry to cope with the shocks that are being felt by mining affected communities and the reality that we can't keep expanding mining forever.
“Full time coal jobs in the Hunter have dropped by more than 5,000 in the past 3 years and coal expansion has damaged other local industries and hurt the Hunter economy.
“There are huge costs to mining swallowing up our prime agricultural land, ruining our rivers and damaging other more sustainable industries.
“There will be plenty of work in rehabilitating the voids left behind by mining activities for years to come in the Hunter – if the industry can do the right thing and provide the estimated $15 billion needed for doing the job right.
“This advertising campaign in the final weeks of the State election is the clearest indication yet that the mining industry has lost its social licence to operate in many of our regions and is trying to buy its ways out of trouble,” she said.