Jobs and industry in the Hunter Valley: Context for a conversation about a Just Transition away from coal
Publisher: Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
Date Written: 05/05/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20760
The development of employment opportuniteis outside the coal miniing industry is both possible and necessary.
The Hunter Valley is famously, or infamously, one of the most coal-mining-dominated regions in the world. We have one of the highest concentrations of mines on the planet, and we host its biggest export coal facility. Many will tell you that the Hunter has always been a coal-mining region, and it's true. But in the past it played a lesser role, and only in recent years has mining come to dominate the physical, social, and economic landscape of the Hunter Valley.
Historically, the mines were far fewer, and were underground. It was in the late 1970's and early 1980's that the first open cut pits began to appear, and those were tiny artisanal ditches compared to today's gargantuan, town-sized excavations.
For pretty much the entirety of the 20th century, the Hunter Valley was a national agricultural powerhouse. And despite the more recent dominance of the mining industry in our region, agricultural industries remain significant. If they are protected, encouraged, and regrown, these industries will play an indispensable role in our region's necessary and inevitable transition away from coal.