Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon has called on the federal and NSW governments to drive job expansion in renewables, clean manufacturing and other sectors to ensure a viable future for regional NSW in the wake of the community defeat of the Caroona coalmine on the Liverpool Plains.
“Now that the Baird government has recognised that the food bowl of the black soil plains must be protected they should commit to providing jobs growth in sustainable industries and the service sector,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“BHP Billiton’s Caroona Coal Project won government backing largely off the promise of 400 full-time jobs at peak production and up to 600 jobs during construction.
“After paying $200 million to buy back the coal exploration licence that BHP Billiton paid $100 million for, the Baird government must now put resources into a job transition plan for the industry.
“Jobs growth in regional and rural NSW is urgently needed. Planned transition away from coal mining and coal fired power is the way to boost employment and the NSW government needs to plan now so communities are not left behind with few work prospects.
“The Greens are calling for a new government authority, Renew Australia, to be established.
“Renew Australia would manage the massive transition in energy industries through restructuring, retraining and job creation programs.
“The decision to buy back the Caroona coal exploration licence should be a wakeup call for the government that they can’t con communities with the promise that mining means jobs.
“I strongly congratulate the Liverpool Plains communities, former local MP Tony Windsor, Tim Duddy and his family and all the local farmers for the great win in stopping BHP Billiton. This is a win for the community and the whole country,” Senator Rhiannon said.