NSW govt finally recognises it must rely on coal

HOGSBACK is encouraged to see the New South Wales minister for resources and the state National Party leader John Barilaro has woken up to the fact that it was coal royalties that helped the state bail out his farmer friends in the bush during the last drought.
NSW govt finally recognises it must rely on coal  NSW govt finally recognises it must rely on coal  NSW govt finally recognises it must rely on coal  NSW govt finally recognises it must rely on coal  NSW govt finally recognises it must rely on coal

NSW relies on coal for exports and royalties and Barilaro and the NSW government has finally decided to recognise this and give the industry some clarity about the future by launching its Strategic Statement on Coal Exploration and Mining in NSW.

Barilaro was effusive in his praise about coal mining and bullish on its future in the minister's foreword of the document.   

"Coal mining is an important industry for New South Wales, and will continue to be so for the next few decades," he wrote.

"It is particularly important for our regional economies, who have recently suffered a series of blows from drought, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Coal mining is a significant source of direct and indirect jobs in our regions and underpins prosperity in many local economies."

Barilaro is politically savvy enough to know that when coal mining suffers so do the nearby regional economies.

This is a recipe for discontent with the major parties and can lead to greater support for independents, the Shooters and Fishers Party, and the One Nation Party.

So he has momentarily extricated himself from his on-again, off-again federal political ambitions and decided to give some much needed attention to his resources portfolio and the future of the state's biggest export.

The statement outlines a direction for the coal industry, noting potential areas for future coal exploration and mining, community concerns around coal mining and transitioning to new energy sources.

It also pledges to support responsible coal production.

The NSW government said it would recognise existing industry investment by continuing to consider responsible applications to extend the lives of existing coal mines, and by streamlining the process for exploring new areas and areas adjacent to existing mining operations to deliver a better economic return to NSW.

It will also consider releasing a limited number of new areas for coal exploration.

This is welcome news for an industry that has had to fight for the limited available coal exploration locations in the state as well as having to contend with some unduly onerous limitations on any proposed activity because of proximity to farming or residential areas.

Farmers and miners have come up against each over competing land claims in the past and politicians have tended to play it safe and side with the rural lobby.

If this coal strategy is to believed, Barilaro and his Liberal National Party colleagues will at least let coal mining companies play on a proverbial level playing field.