Lithgow’s councillors got “on the same page” to agree to lobby federal member Andrew Gee for a meeting with the Prime Minister in regards to building additional power units at Mt Piper Power Station.
Councillor Darryl Goodwin raised the motion as a matter of urgency in the final minutes of the council meeting on Monday, September 26, after Mayor Stephen Lesslie moved a motion to meet with the NSW premier on the future of Springvale Mine in the meeting’s mayoral minute.
While the councillors unanimously supported Cr Goodwin’s motion, it was not without debate about the involvement of federal member Andrew Gee.
“I support Councillor Goodwin’s proposal but I don’t want to see it delayed by a member who seems to think we call on him too often for his help,” deputy mayor Wayne McAndrew said, referring to an article written by Andrew Gee in which he stated the council had a “combative approach” to other levels of government.
“I support Councillor Goodwin’s proposal wholeheartedly and strongly but need to make the same decisions we took with the premier over Springvale, we need to do the same with the prime minister,” Cr McAndrew said.
Last week Mayor Stephen Lesslie and Mr McAndrew announced they would seek to organise a meeting with the NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian and “bypass all the local representatives”.
We all need to be on the same page. Not the Labor Party, not the Nationals, not the independents. Let’s work together as a team and get the job done.Cr Joe Smith
Councillor Steve Ring pointed out Mr Gee had previously requested EnergyAustralia build the two additional power units at Mt Piper.
The company’s response to the federal member is available on the EnergyAustralia website. EnergyAustralia has consistently stated that the company will not invest further in traditional coal power units.
“I disagree with Councillor McAndrew. I believe we need to leave the politics out,” he said.
“I don’t agree with that statement [from EnergyAustralia] but it’s a private company. I don’t think we’ve got a hope of hell of going to straight to the prime minister. We need to go through the local member, we need to mend bridges and we need to be the bigger people.”
After responses from Cr Thompson, Cr Statham and Cr Coleman, Councillor Joe Smith asked for the council to get on “the same page”.
“We are all here for the same agenda: to get down the power costs. What EnergyAustralia says today they can sellout tomorrow. We’ve seen it time and time again, I’ve been in the coal mining game a long time. What we need is the government to buy back the station,” he said.
“We all need to be on the same page. Not the Labor Party, not the Nationals, not the independents. Let’s work together as a team and get the job done, draft the letters up and give the general manager the to power draft the letter away on behalf of the council and on behalf of our lovely community.”