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Hope for the Hunter as economic inquiry gets underway

An inquiry soon to be underway in NSW could help provide a roadmap for renewal in the Hunter Valley region in the face of global coal demand decline, according to Hunter Renewal.

This Sunday (September 15) is the deadline for submissions to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Sustainability of Energy Supply and Resources, and Hunter Renewal is encouraging all interested groups to have their say.

“We know from experience here in the Hunter and around the world that declining markets put coal mining communities at risk of profound economic and social harm from which many struggle to recover,” Hunter Renewal coordinator Danielle Coleman said.

“The Hunter region is uniquely vulnerable to changes in global markets for thermal coal as our overseas customers switch to renewable energy and that’s why this inquiry is crucially important.

“Diversification planning in the Hunter region so far has not been successful because it has not provided a platform for the public to get engaged and take control of our future.   

“Diversification requires transparent investment of funding, policy and time, driven by local knowledge and consensus-building. 

“This inquiry is the first chance the public has been given to talk openly about the future of this region over the next twenty years and how we will weather the storm of predicted declines in global thermal coal markets. 

“Almost everyone in the Hunter agrees that we need a plan for a future that is less dependent on coal mining and that sets us up with new jobs and industries for the long-term, caring for people and the environment. 

“This inquiry is a chance for people in regional coal communities to speak for ourselves about how we want to prepare for our future together.” 

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