The Hunter's economic transformation is being hindered by a 'culture war' over coal and energy policy, a new discussion paper about structural adjustment in the region argues.
The paper, No Regrets, planning for economic change in the Hunter, outlines a series of actions that need to occur to ensure the region's economic sustainability during a period of unprecedented structural change.
The Hunter Jobs Alliance, which consists of 13 union, community and environment groups, will launch the discussion paper at Rutherford on Thursday evening.
The 22-page document argues there is an urgent need to have a unified and 'common sense conversation' about how to deal with economic change in the region.
"The region is clearly being held back by a 'culture war' that has developed around coal and energy," the paper says.
"This distracts us from planning for economic change, and deters investment. A fragmented set of local interests have not (as yet) been able to articulate a collective, shared vision on these issues."
It identifies four actions that are needed to help the region deal with structural change. These include the creation of a local structural change authority, a major reinvestment of coal royalties in structural change planning, well-resourced and evidence-based actions to support working people and attract investment, and setting clear expectations regarding worker support for large employers undertaking closure or retrenchments.