An inquiry into the sustainability of energy supply and resources in NSW, established in the lower house of NSW parliament with the support of the Government, can put the state on the path towards diversification of regional economies that are reliant on coal exports and support the shift to affordable and reliable clean energy.
In NSW, some regional communities where coal mining is a big employer are at risk as the customers that we export our thermal coal to shift their energy systems towards renewable energy. If we don’t prepare for this change, then regional communities will suffer, but planning and investment can offset those impacts and ensure that affected communities diversify and grow.
Experience in Australia and around the world shows that managing these changes is not easy, but there is a way that can deliver positive outcomes for our regions. We can choose energy and new industry that creates new jobs and does not compromise water security, health or the social fabric of our regions.
Preparing for these coming changes can benefit the people of NSW if we:
Let communities lead: Community-driven processes are the best at adjusting to change, and regional communities must be given charge of their own future.
Support regional renewal: Regional diversification plans are needed to build new industries on existing strengths, reducing vulnerability to coal declines.
Look after workers: Any and all workers affected by changes in coal mining and power stations must be given new skills, training and well-paid and fulfilling jobs.
Make energy affordable: Unpredictable markets and prices for the coal and gas that fuel our energy system are driving up energy costs for NSW households and businesses.
Clear the air: Coal mining and burning in the Hunter region causes air pollution and the air in Singleton and Muswellbrook makes people sick.
Safeguard water security: Coal mining and burning are large consumers of water.
We can choose energy and new industry that creates new jobs and does not compromise water security, health or the social fabric of our regions.