Lithgow City Council will lobby politicians to build further coal fired power generators in the area as public debate circulates around Liddell Power Station and the opening of a coal to gas plant in the Latrobe Valley.
Councillor Ray Thompson introduced a motion at last week’s council meeting calling on council to “immediately lobby all parties both state and federal, brief media outlets and call for meetings with whomever we can to ensure that the Lithgow LGA is seen as a viable and real solution to our country’s future base load power requirements.”
After discussion regarding the old Wallerawang Power Station site and Mt Piper, the motion was passed unanimously.
“As elected representatives within our communities we need to be sure we are not left behind in this debate. There is potential for two extra coal fired units at Mt Piper Power Station,” Cr Thompson said.
EnergyAustralia has consistently stated that building the two extra units at Mt Piper would contravene the company’s climate change policy.
“And of course we have Wallerawang as a site with all the infrastructure in place,” Cr Thompson continued.
“But unless a government agency buys it and builds it nobody will invest in it because nobody knows which side either government will go to as far as coal fired power.”
Mayor Stephen Lesslie stated after the meeting that council needed to focus on gaining government support for projects that would create jobs, citing recent grants for skate parks and the adventure playground.
“These are great for people, but no one gets a job out of them," he said.
“We need the government to say here’s money to buy land so we can attract industry, here’s money to bring industry into our area, which can therefore create employment and provide jobs to the people of Lithgow, Wallerawang and Portland and others.”
During the meeting Cr Maree Statham said lobbying would be better targeted at Richard Lancaster the CEO of CLP Group, the company that owns EnergyAustralia.
But Cr Steve Ring and Cr McAndrew said energy was a problem to be solved by Australia’s politicians.
"The policies of all major political parties and some of the fringe dwellers, places unrealistic constraints on the construction of coal power generators,” Cr Ring said.
“While that confusion and uncertainty is there, industry will not want to invest.”
“Our community has told us that they support coal mining and coal power generation. We’ve got the opportunity now that they’re [politicians] all talking about it,” Cr McAndrew said.
Cr Thompson said he will lobby for more coal fired power generation in Lithgow at the National Assembly of Local Government Conference in June.
"Let’s go down to Canberra with the mayor and the deputy mayor and we’ll lobby and kick a bit of arse.”