The Port of Newcastle one of many groups calling for a Hunter plan to deal with climate change

THE Federal and NSW governments are under pressure over the lack of planning for the Hunter region's transition from coal after submissions from councils, trade unions, environment groups, Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper and the Port of Newcastle calling for government action.

Export: Coal being loaded for export at Kooragang Island. Picture: Marina Neil.
 Export: Coal being loaded for export at Kooragang Island. Picture: Marina Neil.

The anticipated closure of all 35 of the state's operating thermal coal mines over the next two decades and the loss of thousands of jobs highlights the need for government action, a NSW parliamentary inquiry has been told in multiple submissions.

Singleton Shire Council has sounded the alarm about the reliance of its economy on mining, making it "highly susceptible to resource market trends".

"Action is required to identify industry diversification opportunities, avoid land use conflicts, promote a mix of land use outcomes, investigate emerging opportunities and develop strategic long term post mining land use outcomes," the council said in a submission to NSW parliament's Sustainability of Energy Supply and Resources inquiry.

In an upbeat submission the Port of Newcastle said the region was almost uniquely placed to refer to the recent past as a way to see the opportunities available for a region transitioning away from coal.

"The closure of BHP's local steelmaking operations 20 years ago, while traumatic, triggered an economic and social awakening that is still playing out today. The closure was a major milestone in a long-term shift away from a reliance on steel manufacturing," Port of Newcastle chief executive Craig Carmody said.

Read the full Story by Joanne McCarthy and published in the Newcastle Herald 04 October 2019