NSW Government takes next steps towards Future Jobs & Investment Authorities in coal-producing regions
The Minister for Natural Resources, Courtney Houssos, the Minister for Energy, Penny Sharpe, and the Mayor of Cessnock, Jay Suvaal, on Tuesday hosted a Roundtable as the NSW Government begins establishing Future Jobs & Investment Authorities in coal-producing regions.
New authorities will be established in the Hunter, Illawarra, Central West and North West to create jobs, where necessary re-skill workers and advance economic diversification. This is a key priority for the Minns Labor Government.
The authorities will work with the Commonwealth Government’s Net Zero Authority to support workers, industries and communities to seize transformational opportunities. The NSW Government is also considering how they will work with existing Royalties for Rejuvenation Regional Expert Panels.
More than 60 stakeholders from mining companies, unions, energy producers, industry groups and universities joined Tuesday’s meeting in Cessnock to provide their insights, share their perspectives on how the authorities should operate, and discuss the region’s core priorities.
The Roundtable is an important first step to creating the authorities and will be followed up with further discussions in the Hunter, as well as stakeholder roundtables across the state.
During the meeting, participants spoke of a commitment to work together to create opportunities to secure a strong future for the Hunter Region.
Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos said:
“It is vital we consult with workers and industry to better understand what support they will need. We want to ensure no-one gets left behind and that they are well prepared for the opportunities in the future.
“We only have one chance to put in place the right structures, policies and supports for communities to flourish in the post-coal era. The Minns Labor Government is committed to getting it right.
“We know our future productivity will rely on the economic diversification and workforce planning that we do now. That’s why we are working with local stakeholders to identify ways we can help workers and their families in mining regions prepare for a strong future.
“We recognise there is strong interest to explore how new industries can develop on mined land following mine closures.There is a great deal of energy and good will to make this happen and it was great to hear such a wide range of views as to how we can support these new economic opportunities.”
Minister for Energy Penny Sharpe said:
“The coal sector in NSW is changing. It is vital we work with coal communities to take action now to ensure NSW’s economy and these communities continue to grow and prosper.”
“We are committed to collaborating with local communities, industry and workers to develop bespoke plans which prioritise future industry and workforce needs.
“We know there is already substantial work underway and clever ideas being generated from the Hunter, and so it’s timely that the NSW Government listens and learns from our important Hunter stakeholders to bring together and build on what has already been done.”
Mayor of Cessnock Jay Suvaal said:
“The government’s work to promote economic diversification requires a sustained and authentic local engagement, and hosting the first Roundtable in Cessnock shows how serious the NSW Government is about getting this right.
“This is about supporting our communities, and supporting our workers and their families, while ensuring they have every opportunity as the area moves towards new and emerging industries.”
BHP NSW Energy Coal Vice President Adam Lancey said:
“We welcome the opportunity to consult on the creation of the authorities and look forward to future engagement around how we can work together towards a brighter future.
“We are currently exploring what might be possible when mining ends at Mt Arthur Coal so we can leave a positive legacy in the Hunter Valley.”
MEU Northern Mining and NSW Energy District President Robin Williams said:
“The mining and energy industries in the Hunter have made the region an economic powerhouse for NSW, but our economy is changing which has real implications for regional jobs in the years and decades ahead.
“I commend the NSW Government for bringing stakeholders together for a practical discussion about the investment we will need to ensure Hunter residents can continue to access quality, skilled jobs and the region has a bright future.”