NSW PREMIER Mike Baird has declared the Cadia East gold mine a model for how mining and agriculture can co-exist.
While the mine’s first panel cave has been operational since January last year and the second is currently under construction, the Premier officially opened the mine on Wednesday, with Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson also in attendance.
With community consultative committee chair Bruce Buchanan praising Newcrest on keeping the community informed and involved, Mr Baird said it was possible to have mining, agriculture and the community working together.
“There seems to be a great seamlessness amongst it and certainly what we’re seeing is a community that has been enhanced by the jobs and the economic activity that is growing, but also the company listening and responding to concerns as presented,” he said.
“That to me is the model.”
Mr Baird said the mine’s success was important as Electrolux wound down.
“It provides hope of new jobs and new investment and new opportunities for this community,” he said.
“Obviously the Electrolux decision is disappointing and it’s one that will have an impact on families across this region, but what we need to do is look for other jobs, more jobs, more economic activity and certainly what this project does is provide that hope in a difficult time.”
Mr Baird said the government was an open book and encouraged businesses to contribute ideas on where the money should be spent.
He did not specify how much money would be available as part of the central west jobs action plan, but it would include new funding.
Member for Orange Andrew Gee said the mine proved the central west was not a one-trick pony and it could get through the current turbulence.
“I think mining is part of the big picture and a solution to our current challenges, but it’s not the only one,” he said.
“You’ve got the biggest inland health campus in the southern hemisphere, we’ve got a very strong primary production base here, so new industries that encourage the processing of those products and export is obviously something we’d like to have a look at as well, but we shouldn’t limit ourselves.”
Mr Gee anticipated there would be adiditional funds in the state budget, due in June.