Following a meeting with Mayor Stephen Lesslie, deputy mayor Wayne McAndrew, general manager Graeme Faulkner and CFMEU representatives in Sydney on Friday morning, state leader of the opposition Luke Foley has agreed to travel to Lithgow to deliver a speech outside Springvale Mine on the morning of Monday, October 9.
“The invitation for him to come to Lithgow is in regards to the ongoing drama about the Springvale court case and the threat of their lease of operation at Springvale being withdrawn. We want clarity and we want to get an answer so that the issue doesn’t just linger,” Mayor Lesslie said.
“The Member of Parliament for Bathurst Paul Toole says he has a plan but he won’t tell us what it is.”
Mr Lesslie said that at Friday’s meeting in Mr Foley’s office in the State Parliament House in Sydney, the opposition leader expressed concern about the current position of Springvale Mine.
“He’s very concerned and he understands that the mine is an integral part of keeping Mt Piper functioning and that without Mt Piper there could be a major crises in electricity supply for NSW.”
“I can’t put words into his mouth but I think if the government can’t guarantee that they will introduce a proper permanent response to this then he will introduce legislation himself in the parliament. He doesn’t have the numbers in parliament but if he is prepared to go out on a limb and introduce legislation then he will be raising the issue as something critical, which is what we want.”
Mayor Lesslie said it was within his prerogative as mayor to organise Friday’s meeting with the Labor leader without the request first being approved at a council meeting.
“That’s perfectly within my rights. Yesterday, we were notified that our request by council to meet with the premier had been rejected. So the council can hardly be criticized for seeking a meeting with the leader of the opposition if the premier is not willing to talk to us,” he said.
“Nonetheless as the representatives of Lithgow we want to talk to as many people as we can about this urgent issue.”
Graeme Osborne, the district vice president of the South Western CFMEU Lithgow office, attended the meeting in Sydney with president Andy Honeysett.
“It was a great show of support from the opposition, especially leader Luke Foley. What he wants to do is come out and talk to the Lithgow community, especially the workers at Springvale and Mt Piper directly affected by this. He wants to get it out there that this is a situation the government needs to get all parties involved in and come up with a solution ASAP,” Mr Osborne said.
The union has sought for workers at the mine on Monday to be released for the 10am address, Mr Osborne said.
“The company has supported that request so there will be workers coming out of the pit for the meeting. But it’s an open invitation for everyone in Lithgow to come because it does affect everyone.”
Leader of the Opposition Luke Foley will make a public address on the soccer field opposite the Springvale Mine entrance in Wallerawang at 10am on Monday, October 9.