Press release 6 June
Coal Action Network activist at the now mothballed Mataura briquetting plant – supposed to provide local jobs, but didn’t.
Further layoffs expected today at Solid Energy’s Stockton mine are a warning that coal cannot be relied on for community prosperity and jobs says Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA).
CANA’s new report, Jobs After Coal – a Just Transition for coal mining communities, released two weeks ago, documents the reasons for the world-wide decline in coal mining and argues strongly that workers should not be left to bear the burden of redundancies.
Jeanette Fitzsimons, one of the authors, said “Coal prices are not going up again any time soon, renewable energy is getting cheaper all the time, and climate change means that most of the coal currently available to mine can never be burned anyway.”
“This is all part of the ‘perfect storm’ Don Elder talked of before he resigned.”
“It is urgent to set in place a planning process for communities that are most affected. This should have been done two years ago when the redundancies started, rather than waiting until even more families are suffering.”
“The latest layoffs make it clear that communities cannot rely on a boom and bust industry for their job security.”
A “Just Transition” would provide central government help for a community-led process to analyse where the skills of miners can be transferred to other industries and develop local economic development based on local skills and opportunities.
“It needs to involve all parts of the community – councils, business, unions, iwi, polytechs, ngos, to plan a future after coal.”
The report provides some snapshots of what other communities overseas have done to reinvent themselves after coal mining, and concludes that the West Coast could do the same with some government resources.