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Greens announce $1.8 billion coal community investment program

coal train bulli

Coal train passing through Bulli; Photo: http://www.railpage.com.au

THE Greens have announced a direct investment program to support communities transitioning away from coal.

Under the Coal Community and Environmental Trust communities like those in the northern Illawarra would have access to a $1.8 billion fund to re-skill workers and revitalise their economies

The Coal Community and Environment Trust will be funded by a guaranteed income stream of 20 per cent of all state coal royalties until 2030.

Greens MP, David Shoebridge said with yet another month of record temperatures its time to act to end coal and hand the next generation a sustainable future.

“The Greens are committed to a $1.8 billion package to support transitioning communities away from dirty, polluting coal and ensure there is ongoing funding to re-skill workers and revitalise their economies,” he said.

“The Greens will always support communities to achieve a just and fair transition away from coal and help their economies and environments flourish in a post coal future. Today we are backing that commitment with real money.”

Mr Shoebridge said the Greens remain 100 per cent committed to the future of the Port Kembla Steelworks and to a guaranteed State Government Australian steel procurement policy.

“This package acknowledges the ongoing need for metallurgical coal for the steelworks until post-coal steel making technology is commercially viable,” he said.

“Right now the NSW Government pockets more than $1.5 billion in royalties from the coal sector each year. The Greens will support the just transition of communities dependent on coal by investing at least 20 per cent of these royalties back into their communities.” Mr Shoebridge said.

Greens candidate for Keira Kaye Osborn said the Coal Community and Environmental Trust will create new public jobs to replace and improve on the jobs lost with the end of coal, and create a regional industries incentive scheme to expand existing successful manufacturing, engineering, agricultural, tourism and technology industries.

“In just the last few days we have seen Glencore place a cap on their coal program and a ban on Australian coal imports at a major Chinese coal port,” Ms Osborn said.

“The Illawarra is already feeling the effects of the decline of the coal industry. NSW owes it to the Illawarra to make the move from coal as painless as possible and invest in the future of the region.”

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About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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