Miners demand apology from Nathaniel Smith for threatening 400 local jobs
Coal miners at the Tahmoor coal mine are demanding an apology and retraction from Nathaniel Smith after the Member for Wollondilly misled constituents in his opposition to the Tahmoor South extension.
The Tahmoor South extension is strongly opposed by property developers who want to profit from a residential subdivision in Bargo.
Without the extension over 400 local miners will lose their jobs in 18 months when existing coal reserves at the Tahmoor coal mine are exhausted.
The Tahmoor mine produces premium coking coal used in high-grade steel products made at Port Kembla, Whyalla and on international markets.
The mine’s owner, SIMEC, is currently seeking approval to keep the mine open but local Liberal MP Nathaniel Smith publicly opposed the proposed extension in a press release issued on the eve of Christmas.
Mr Smith falsely claimed the extension plan includes mining directly under the entire township of Bargo. Through their union local miners have written to the MP to request a meeting but are yet to hear back.
Local property developers have been agitating in the townships of Tahmoor and Bargo, setting up a ‘concerned residents’ website and Facebook page and continually letter boxing residents.
Property developers wish to clear bushland to create a new residential subdivision in Bargo. The union is questioning why Mr Smith appears to be favouring the position of property developers over local residents and Tahmoor coal miners.
“Nathaniel Smith’s press release ruined Christmas for 400 local families,” said CFMMEU South Western District Vice-President Bob Timbs.
“It’s deeply concerning to see the local member attempting to whip up hysteria that only aids property developers and hurts local employment.
“The Tahmoor South mine extension will secure the 400 direct jobs for another decade, and support hundreds of other jobs in the community.
“Tahmoor miners live in Tahmoor and Bargo and their kids go to local schools; the mine is the lifeblood of the local community.
“The extension will also create over 170 new jobs during the construction phase. With COVID-19 playing havoc with the state’s economy Nathaniel Smith should be getting behind this project to kickstart the recovery.
“Tahmoor Coal has bent over backwards to do the right thing. They have reduced the longwall footprint at significant expense and mitigated the impact on native vegetation and water resources.
“There is strong community support in the Bargo and Wollondilly Shires for this project as it will inject $137 million into the local shire and almost $5 million in council rates.
“Mining has successfully coexisted with South Coast communities for well over a century and this extension ensures it will continue into the future.”
“The CFMMEU will be calling on each of our miners at Tahmoor to hang a high vis shirt on the mine’s fence to represent the jobs which will be lost if Nathaniel Smith and local property developers get their way and the mine closed.”