Lock the Gate has dismissed claims by the Minerals Council, that 8,600 mining jobs are at risk in the Hunter, as wildly exaggerated.
Spokesperson for Lock the Gate Georgina Woods said the coal industry had been going hell for leather to dig as much coal out of the ground in as short a time as possible in a time of declining world prices
“The coal companies haven’t planned for how to adjust for changing global circumstances. They’ve laid off 2,500 people in the last twelve months, and now have the effrontery to bully the government and use workers as ransom,” Ms Woods said.
“The companies have been digging up coal at an unprecedented rate and are now pushing into areas that support jobs in sustainable agricultural industries.
“The government’s job is to plan so that the Hunter has long term sustainable jobs regardless of the price of coal not to just do whatever the coal industry demands of them.
“The recent PAC report on the Drayton Mine made it clear that Anglo American was not fulfilling its mine rehabilitation responsibilities. Across the Hunter Valley we have 35 open cut pits and there is plenty of work to be done restoring the landscape to its former glory if the government was willing to make the coal companies live up to their obligations.
“The coal industry is in structural decline, we have layoffs, holes left in the ground and a polluted river but who is planning for the future?”
Further information: Georgina Woods 0437 405 932