LABOR LEADER ADDRESSES LITHGOW MINERS AS STATE GOVERNMENT FORCED INTO ACTION ON SPRINGVALE

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Labor Leader Luke Foley met with 400 local mine and power workers and their families this morning and vowed to maintain the pressure on the State Government to deliver a solution to keep Springvale mine open and secure coal supplies to Mount Piper power station, which generates 11 per cent of the state’s electricity.

Following the announcement last Friday that Mr Foley was visiting the mine today, the Government scrambled this morning to announce it will act.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has refused requests to meet with Lithgow City Council and mine workers.

This morning outside the gates of the Springvale mine Mr Foley, accompanied by Labor’s energy spokesman Adam Searle MLC, outlined his own plan to ensure the mine is kept open, jobs are secured and the local water supply protected.

The Liberal National state government has done nothing since the NSW Court of Appeal handed down a judgement in late August that effectively put the mine on notice. The Land and Environment court is due to make a decision in the next week on when the mine will close.

Springvale is the sole supplier of coal to the nearby Mount Piper power station, which produces 11 per cent of the state’s electricity.

Mr Foley said the Government’s response lacked detail and was reactive. The Premier found time to go to the Bathurst motor races at the weekend but couldn’t spare the time to go to Lithgow nearby to listen to workers.

The State Government has now said it will introduce legislation this week to keep the mine open. Mr Foley made a commitment that Labor will support legislation to ensure the mine remained open and a water treatment plant gets built to handle water from the mine.

Mr Foley said any legislation must protect the local water supply from contaminated wastewater.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“It should never have come to this. The State Government’s bungling of this long-running issue has put jobs, power and water quality at risk. It was only when I announced I would visit Lithgow to support the workers that the Government paid the issue some attention.

“This Government’s record to date on power has been privatisation followed by rising electricity prices. To protect the state from blackouts the Premier needs to come up with a workable solution that can save Springvale and 11 per cent of the electricity that it helps generate.  

“Any solution must not come at the expense of the local water supply. Labor will not support the weakening of laws that protect the catchment.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Energy Minister Adam Searle

“The actions of this government have caused household and small business electricity costs to spiral out of control, and it appears to have no plan to get the State out of the mess it has caused.

“Labor’s plan will deliver security of electricity supply for the State while guaranteeing local jobs and long-overdue environmental protections for our drinking water.

“The current Premier has left the State exposed to an over-reliance on coal-fired power by failing to support the adequate development of new electricity generation projects for NSW. Only a NSW Labor Government will ensure we get our electricity from a diversity of sources, including ensuring Australia gets 50 per cent from renewable sources by 2030.”