On the same day we have an article in the Campbelltown and Macarthur Chronicle, the NSW Minerals Council takes out a full page ad saying “Hurt Mining, hurt Western Sydney”. Next to this ad, there is a special AGL gaslands tour advertised.
Jobs are a major concern for Western Sydney, with residents here bearing the brunt of manufacturing job losses in recent years. Between May 2011 and May 2012, 2943 manufacturing jobs were lost in Western Sydney, an annual decline of 3.3%. But it’s not mining that has any prospect of providing a glimmer on the horizon. In fact, mining has inflated the Australian dollar, contributing to making Australian manufacturing less internationally competitive. Jobs per megatonne of coal mined have also decreased over time with increasing mechanization of production. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for 2013 show the entire Gas & Mining Industry combined employed less than 0.2% or 20,700 Australians. This is only two thirds of the number of people employed at Bunnings. The Gas Industry would have you believe that in 2012 it created 100,000 jobs. They creatively inflate their figures by claiming incidental jobs outside their project. Those employed by CSG are only a fraction of that 20,700 and unfortunately this data is not collected by ABS.
What does offer hope, is a proactive approach by local, state and federal governments. A planned industry transition worked when the BHP Newcastle steel plant shut down from 1997- 1999 and it has worked in other cases.
Just Transitions forum
This Friday night (20 Feb), in the city at Pitt Street Uniting Church, there will be a forum about jobs beyond mining- what some people call a “Just Transition”. Hear more about it here.
And if you want to see the actual article in the Chronicle, I’ve pasted it below:
There are plenty of ways to contribute – you can walk, cycle (limited spots for the first leg if you’re fit), attend rallies, make or bring food, set up or clean up, drive a van, help painting banners, make signs, sew us some blue flags, come to meetings, debate ideas or messages, update or do a guest post on this website, call friends, get your organisation on board, share info on Facebook/Twitter, print and distribute brochures, play music for us, tell us a water story, donate money. Here are some details for donating via a crowdfunding site if you feel moved to contribute monetarily. If you would prefer to donate directly, contact us and we can send our bank details.
SIGN OUR PETITION Five days out from the walk we also launched a petition, on the Community Run site. Please sign and share with your friends.
On 21st December, five of the Walk for Water Organising Group visited the Nepean and the Avon Dams (the Avon being affected by coal mining), as well as the gasfields near Camden and the Mt Annan Botanic Garden. Here are some pictures from that journey [note that we will now be starting from Cataract Dam].
Our friends in Rivers SoS and Protect Sydney’s Water Alliance reminded us that the Avon dam is seriously damaged by coal mining, with the cracks to wetlands feeding the dam kind of like drilling holes in a bucket.
Have a look at our meeting place underneath the Mars Hill Cafe. It’s pretty atmospheric! We will meet there again this Sunday, 11 Jan, 2pm. All welcome!