As we fast approach the end to 2020 it is particularly pleasing to see Hunter Joint Organisation of Council's push to establish the Hunter 2050 Foundation.
While we know there are a number of mining projects in the planning approval stage as well as major construction work underway on the Wambo United open cut mine.
There has also been significant events this year including Glencore's decision to shutdown its Hunter mining operations for a number of weeks and job losses at HVO and Peabody Energy's Wambo underground mine.
Falling demand and prices have impacted mining companies particularly for thermal coal.
Glencore maybe pursuing continued lifespans for some of their mines but they have said Liddell and Integra will shutdown in 2023.
In addition our most reliable export markets Japan and Korea have made announcements that they are committed to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050. With China to follow suit by 2060.
AGL owners of our two nearby coal fired power stations Liddell and Bayswater is now offering their customers financial incentives to install solar panels and solar batteries.
The company also had plans to build a large scale battery storage facility adjacent to Liddell power station.
So on the one hand mining companies continue to mine and sell coal and on the other domestic and international markets for that product are changing and probably changing much faster than many people expected.
With this in mind the need to develop new jobs and new industries for our region is vital.
And thats why we need to see Hunter 2050 Foundation established and well supported.
This year has been a challenge but unless we start planning for our future economic stability and longterm sustainability 2020 may look end up looking like it was an easy walk in the park.
Politicians alway love to talk to farmers saying you have to plan for future droughts, floods and commodity slumps but they have been adverse to tackling the economic future of the Upper Hunter.
So well done to the joint councils and our Federal member Joel Fitzgibbon who it is reported supports the initiative.