THE future of Springvale mine and Mount Piper Power Station has been secured thanks to new legislation that will be introduced into parliament on Wednesday.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said the mine and power station were major regional employers and, with the new legislation, 600 jobs would be saved.
“There are 400 jobs that work out of the Springvale coal mine, another 200 at the Mount Piper Power Station, and importantly this new legislation is going to provide job security and energy security across the state of NSW,” he said.
He said some residents of Bathurst and its surrounding villages would also benefit from the new legislation.
“There could be 2000 or more impacted from secondary employment as a result,” Mr Toole said.
The legislation will support the construction of a water treatment plant to eliminate saline discharges from the mine, as well as put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices.
Mr Toole said it took more than eight weeks of discussion and negotiation to develop the new laws, in which time he became a strong advocate for the people of Lithgow and Bathurst.
Included in the discussions were Centennial Coal, EnergyAustralia, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, her deputy John Barilaro and the Lithgow Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s been worked heavily by the ministers, the various department teams and they’ve been looking at the ways this legislation can be written,” Mr Toole said.
Mount Piper is supplied by the Springvale mine, which was threatened by a recent court decision.
The Court of Appeal recently determined that the Planning Assessment Commission used an incorrect formula to determine the mine’s impacts on local water.
The legislation to be introduced into Parliament will change the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act to clarify that projects in the Sydney water catchment seeking to expand must maintain or improve water quality compared to their existing consent, and will validate Springvale mine’s State Significant Development consent.
Lithgow Mayor Stephen Lesslie welcomed Mr Toole’s announcement.
“I think this will solve the issue,” he said.
“But again, if the legislation does solve the issue why wasn’t it announced eight weeks ago? Government needs to keep people fully informed of their actions and decisions as soon as the problem starts.”