Coal remains central to Newcastle's future

HOGSBACK reckons Newcastle City Council in New South Wales must be in gaga land if their decisions on renewable energy and coal are any guide.
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The City of Newcastle has proclaimed it is pioneering a clean energy future and reshaping the reputation of a "once coal dominant town".

"Newcastle has always been an industrial town," Newcastle deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen said.

"First it was coal, then it was steel and now, it's renewables.

"This community is hungry for clean economic and growth opportunities that will ensure a healthy and resilient future, and quite frankly, that's clean energy technology like solar and wind."

City of Newcastle is a founding member of the Cities Power Partnership, and is recognised as a local government leader in Australia's renewable energy transformation.

Cities Power Partnership director David Craven said the City of Newcastle had set the benchmark as a local government leader in embracing 100% renewables.

"Who could have predicted that a local government of an industrial town known for coal and steel would be one of the first in the entire country to move to 100% renewable energy," Craven said.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Newcastle City seems to have lost sight of the ongoing viability of a town that boasts one of the busiest coal ports in the world. 

Not only is the mining industry giving money directly to the council, it is also contributing to the financial well-being of Newcastle Council rate payers. 

The Hunter Valley coal mining industry contributed $54,989,306 to its local government, according to the New South Wales Minerals Council Industry Expenditure Impact Survey 2018-19.

An estimated 7003 businesses in NSW received payments for goods and services supplied to the NSW Minerals Council survey respondents during 2018-19.

The highest number of businesses was recorded in the Hunter with 3282 businesses.

The total economic contribution in the Hunter region direct, indirect and induced during 2018-19 from the 28 companies surveyed amounted to $11.2 billion in supplying business purchases; $4.8 billion in total wages and salaries paid to workers; $11.5 billion in value added, or 22.8% of total gross regional product in this region; and 68,297 full-time equivalent jobs, or 19.1% of the entire workforce in this region.

Also, 397 community groups in the Hunter were supported by coal mining companies totaling $3,971,458 during 2018-19.

Newcastle is the capital of the Hunter coal region and it will benefit from this position for many years to come if it does not get carried away with the renewables rhetoric and seek to promote its coal industry.