Federation Chamber Speech - Tahmoor Mine Expansion

Thursday, 18 February 2021

I rise today to support local mining jobs in my electorate—mining jobs that are at risk. In the north of my electorate, the Tahmoor coking coal mine operates just near the small village of Tahmoor, selling as an essential supplier to the BlueScope steel mill down at Port Kembla. Tahmoor Coal is one of the biggest local employers in the Wollondilly shire, with 60 to 70 per cent of its employees living in the area. More than 400 employees and contractors currently work at the mine, and the mine supports many local businesses and services: the local school, Wollondilly Anglican College, and many local sporting and community groups.

Tahmoor Coal is currently seeking approval for ongoing mining operations through the Tahmoor South project. Approval is critical to the continuation of mining at Tahmoor. It's expansion not only will ensure that the current 400 jobs are secured until 2032 but also will provide an additional 150 jobs and inject $137½ million into the local economy. I've been in regular communication with the mine in recent months and I recently had a visit with the workers at the mine. I recognise that some in the local community have raised important concerns about subsidence issues. Tahmoor Coal has acknowledged the community's concerns and has responded by scaling back plans, reducing the mining activity that would have occurred under the village of Bargo.

I've always expected the mine to deal with subsidence issues in a timely and community focused way. The extension will make that focus even more important, and my expectations of the Tahmoor mine will remain very, very strong. The proposed extension currently sits before the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission, to which I've made a submission in my capacity as the local member. In my submission to the IPC and to the public more broadly, I've made my view on this issue clear. The social and economic benefits that the mine extension will provide for the local townships around the area and for Tahmoor, Bargo and so on—the local economy and the importance of jobs in our post-COVID recovery—cannot be overlooked. Continued stable employment in this region has never been more critical. Ultimately, this is a decision for the New South Wales government, but I will always stand up for and support local workers in my electorate.