Lithgow councillors’ response to MP Andrew Gee on Mt Piper | Letter to the editor

Deputy mayor Wayne McAndrew, Cr Ray Thompson, Cr Cass Coleman and Cr Joe Smith respond to MP Andrew Gee’s criticism of council calls for federal and state action on Mt Piper Power Station. 

We read with interest and some bemusement the article by our local Federal Member Andrew Gee (“Mt Piper Update” Village Voice Issue 178 15th September 2017) and his comment “Oh my giddy aunt, where do you start with this” quote.

He belittles efforts by Council in “calling on state and federal representatives to support an expansion of Mt Piper Power Station” and “calling on” other levels of government to do things.

We thought that was what councils were supposed to do! Call on elected members of Parliament to support their communities on matters of state and federal importance.

His own Prime Minister has made energy a federal issue.

Bearing in mind of course that in his previous life he was a State Member of the Coalition Government that sold the state power stations in the first place!

Sadly, it looks like Mr. Gee is the one suffering from giddiness, not some poor old “aunt”.

Andrew Gee is our elected representative in federal parliament voted in by the community to represent their interests not the interests of any other entity. Aside from Mr. Gee standing up in parliament briefly on Wednesday 13th September this year, very little has been said by him over the last six months in that Parliamentary Forum on job losses in the coal mining and power generation industries.

Local Government is an instrument of state legislation and does not have the authority or jurisdiction to direct federal or state government policy but we can lobby and request that the communities elected leaders stand up for them, an approach which apparently makes Mr. Gee “uncomfortable”.

Lithgow City Councillors are the elected representatives of the Lithgow LGA and are part of his electorate whether he likes it or not!

But be assured, Councillors will act in the best interests of their community with or without his help!

He either stands with them or doesn’t, Lithgow Council and its community will fight for their current and future well being whether he works with them or not!

As for supporting coal and power workers in our area, each time one or both have been up for discussion at Council, they have received unanimous support from Councillors!

There has never been any “talking down of coal” within Council, we do not know where he got that from, maybe another attack of  “giddiness”?

The Mayor as well as other Councillors spoke strongly in support of the application by Springvale Colliery for a Water Treatment Plant at the recent PAC meeting in Lithgow. All other Councillors not working at the time also attended in support of Springvale, Mt Piper and their respective workforces. We did not see Mr. Gee there!

So much for his public support for coal and power workers!

To quote “The Saint” (Lithgow Mercury 19th September) “The quote of the week comes from the National’s Member Andrew Gee: ‘Lithgow Council frequently calls on other levels of government to do this or do that. It is the only council in the region that adopts such a combative approach’ Really? Combative? And there we were thinking it was the role of local government to keep their representatives on the job”

We could not have put it any better!

He can do the right thing and work with Council constructively and in the best interests of the community that elected him.

We extend an open invitation to him to come to Lithgow and meet with the Mayor, Councillors and the Council General Manager.

It is all up to him!

Deputy Mayor Wayne McAndrew

Councillor Ray Thompson

Councillor Cass Coleman

Councillor Joe Smith