Lithgow in political limelight as legislation is proposed

Jay Jackson - Wednesday 11th October, 2017

LITHGOW, Central West, NSW, Australia - The region was in the political spotlight on Monday, with state ministers, the local member, the Leader of the opposition and the Lithgow City Council all zeroing in on the future of the Springvale mine and the Mt Piper Power Station.

In a day of meetings and announcements, the New South Wales government unveiled plans to introduce new laws which it says will put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, and protect energy security and jobs, by ensuring the ongoing operation of the Mount Piper power station.

Mount Piper is supplied by the Springvale mine. The Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said Monday the legislation, which was introduced into the parliament at midnight on Tuesday, will ensure Springvale can continue to supply the Mount Piper power station, which currently provides around 11 per cent of the state’s electricity.

Springvale Mine is the sole source of power for Mount Piper and the government wants to ensure there is no disruption to its operations, the minister said.

The legislation will ensure that water quality in the Sydney water catchment will be protected, meaning the mine will be required to maintain or improve water quality, which was at the heart of the success of an appeal handed down earlier this year, which threatened the future of the mine.

The legislation will support the construction of a water treatment plant to eliminate saline discharges from the mine, the Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts confirmed on Monday.

The new treatment plant will see no discharging of mine water into the Cox’s River, a measure supported by the EPA and WaterNSW which has been separately approved by the independent Planning Assessment Commission, Mr Roberts said.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said the legislation propsoed, which will amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, will ensure that 600 jobs in the region will be secured. He said he had been strongly advocating for the legislation.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley, meantime was in Lithgow yesterday to address the future of the Springvale mine and Mt Piper. He also visited the Springvale mine in company with the Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources & Energy, Adam Searle, and addressed the mine’s workers (pictured).

Mr Foley and his staff met with Lithgow Council Mayor Stephen Lesslie, Deputy Mayor Wayne McAndrew and General Manager Graeme Faulkner on Friday morning at Parliament House. The Council had also requested a meeting with the Premier Gladys Berejiklian, however the mayor has since confirmed the request had been rejected.