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The Country Mayors
Association
of NSW Inc

“What we want is nothing more than equity”

REGIONAL NSW “DOING THE HEAVY LIFTING”

MEDIA RELEASE

Country Mayors Association of NSW on behalf of our members are calling for State and Federal governments to ease the burden on Regional communities by implementing actions that will see a swift increase in the installations of roof top solar in the greater Sydney metropolitan area. 

As renewable energy projects sweep through the rural area’s State and Federal Governments have not kept pace with this change. This is leading to massive land use and social conflict in Rural, Regional and Remote areas of our State. 

Chairman of CMA Jamie Chaffey said ”Today’s closure of the Liddell coal fired power station brings to the forefront many critical concerns, firstly the ongoing escalating cost of regional power to business and residencies, the looming concerns over access to base load power in the near future and the viability of Regional communities that rely on employment from the extraction and power generation from Coal. 

Regional NSW is doing the heavy lifting with massive solar farms now dotted throughout our communities, wind farms installed or under development in the most controversial locations that are dividing our communities and pitting neighbor against neighbor, these renewable energy installations require the establishment of extremely expensive high voltage transmission towers to connect back into the grid, causing the escalation of the cost of power to Regional NSW. 

“The City and Regions are reliant on each other, the food and fibre along with the minerals and energy produced in Regional NSW is critical to the prosperity of the State; the majority supply of renewable energy should not be a burden on Regional NSW, Chairman Chaffey said.” 

Mayor of Singleton Shire Council, Sue Moore said” Liddell closure will see no forced redundancies as some employees took early retirement and others moved over to Bayswater. However the communities of Singleton and Muswellbrook are very concerned where their affordable reliable power will come from as renewables are not coming online as expected. 

It is well known that there are not real jobs in renewables and at the end of the day the regional and rural areas will carry the burden of these renewable assets. Further to this as the talk of coal mines winding back escalates it is feared that job losses will be inevitable and severe with no planning for new job creation. Mayor Moore said.” 

Mayor of Muswellbrook Shire Council, Steve Reynolds said” We are all aware that Liddell Power Station needs to close. AGL have been very engaged with us around their workforce, and the fact there will be no forced redundancies is somewhat comforting from an employment perspective. 

What is concerning is the power taken out of the grid without having an alternative ready to switch over to. We are in for some tough times moving forward with the timeframes of Eraring and Bayswater; it is a case of horse and cart. 

We speak of the jobs and as communities are working tirelessly, though the planning and specifically land use zoning around current consents is not moving as fast as it needs, and my fear is there will be a lag between current jobs available and the sales to the people of these new jobs. 

We know that the intensive jobs we see now in our Region are most definitely not there in the Renewable Sector, Mayor Reynolds said.” 

Mayor of Armidale Regional Council, Sam Coupland said, “The closure of Liddell underscores the push toward renewable energy. When fully developed the New England Renewable Energy Zone will be the largest in Australia which brings with it significant challenges as well as some opportunities. Of real concern to our region is that the renewable projects are being developed with scant adherence to the somewhat outdated Wind and Solar Guidelines. This is creating unnecessary yet significant social dislocation and community angst, all of which could have been minimised if the transition to renewable energy were better planned and the window to this transition not reduced by government policies that lead to the early closure of power stations such as Liddell. 

Once again it is our Regional communities who are doing the heavy lifting in terms of energy security with limited acknowledgement or support from the decision makers operating in the bunker of the Sydney Basin, Mayor Coupland said.” 

“The CMA stands firm in our pursuit of equity of service provision for the residents of our communities. We stand united with our members to advocate for residents who choose to call country NSW home. We will continue to work with both State and Federal governments to achieve the best quality of life and provision of services for our residents, and we look forward to a prosperous future, Chairman Chaffey said.” 

For further information, contact 
• Chairman CMA – Cr Jamie Chaffey on 0467 402 412
• Mayor Singleton Shire Council – Cr Sue Moore on 0429 002 431 
• Mayor Muswellbrook Shire Council – Cr Steve Reynolds on 0431 734 443 
• Mayor Armidale Regional Council – Cr Sam Coupland on 0402 024 120 

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