Mark Rodgers is the general manager of Mount Thorley Warkworth

ON behalf of the 1300 employees and contractors who depend on Mount Thorley Warkworth mine for their jobs, I would like to thank Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Planning Rob Stokes for taking the time to visit us on Tuesday and listen to the concerns people have about their futures.

We’ve been part of the community here for around 30 years.

Decisions on whether we are allowed to continue mining here weigh heavily on the minds of our people and their families.

After five years of uncertainty, it meant a lot for people here at the mine to be able to talk to the Premier and know he understands their situation.

What stood out to me during the Premier’s visit is that our people share the same hopes and concerns as so many across NSW – especially the need for secure employment and certainty for their families.

We have a diverse workforce and the Premier heard from people in many different stages of their lives and careers, who all depend on a future for our mine.

Like a mother who drives heavy machinery and loves being able to live and work locally in the Upper Hunter community, providing a good future for her children.

A young high school graduate told the Premier that the mine is providing her with the chance to get a start in her career by learning a trade, at a time when her friends are struggling to find such opportunities.

Mount Thorley Warkworth mine has strong local support in the Upper Hunter.

This was clearly demonstrated by the close to 2000 individual submissions sent to the Planning Assessment Commission by people supporting the mine, with 85 per cent of these coming from the Hunter region.

Decisions about Mount Thorley Warkworth’s future will affect not only the people who work at the mine, but the communities they are part of.

The Singleton Chamber of Commerce spoke to the Premier on behalf of the hundreds of other Hunter Valley businesses who supply Mount Thorley Warkworth mine and will be impacted by decisions about its future.

I’m pleased the Premier took the time to visit the community of Bulga to understand concerns about its future. Mining at Mount Thorley Warkworth is currently more than 4.5 kilometres from the village and would come to 2.6 kilometres in 2031 under our planning applications, which seek to continue mining on land we own and within existing mining leases.

We are not seeking to relocate the village of Bulga. We want to keep working with community members to ensure the town and its people have a strong future.

The Department of Planning and Environment has also previously noted that, based on environmental studies and government policy, there is no justification for relocating the village.

The Premier will no doubt have read many reports over the past five years about Mount Thorley Warkworth, the most recent being the recommendation from the Planning Assessment Commission that our planning applications can be approved and that the benefits of allowing mining to continue outweigh the impacts.

But no amount of paperwork can express the impact that decisions about the future of this mine will have on the lives of the 1300 people who work here and their families.

We are sincerely grateful for the chance to speak directly to Premier Baird and thank him for listening.

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