24 July 2014

Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy Gary Gray joined Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon on a visit to Rio Tintos Mount Thorley-Warkworth mine sites today.

The main purpose of the visit was to provide Gary with an update on the Hunters coal industry and its on-going contribution to the local economy and community, Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Mr Gray said he is keen to work with the industry to create wealth and to protect jobs.

Low coal prices, a high Australian Dollar and the ebbing off of the construction phase of the mining boom are putting profitability under pressure and costing jobs. We want to send a clear message that we support the sector and remain determined to work with it to encourage investment and to create jobs, Mr Gray said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said that despite the down-turn, the mining industry remains critical to the Hunters economy.

Gary and I want to give the industry every chance to create wealth and jobs in Australia. While the industry must be subject to a strict environmental approvals and regulatory regime, I reject those voices calling for a smaller role for coal in the Hunters economy, Mr Fitzgibbon said.