The decline of the coal industry means 17 mines in the New South Wales Hunter Valley will close over the next two decades. More than 130,000 hectares of mining land — nearly two-thirds of the valley floor between Broke and Muswellbrook — will become available for new uses.
Restoring and reusing this land could contribute billions of dollars to the Hunter economy, create thousands of full-time jobs and make the region a world leader in industries such as renewable energy and regenerative agriculture that improves soil and water quality and increases biodiversity and resilience. But to unlock these future opportunities, we must first clean up the legacy of the past.
Last year community organisation Hunter Renewal asked people across the Hunter Valley about their priorities. They told us they want the Hunter to become a thriving natural environment, a more vibrant and attractive place to live with connected communities, and a diverse and resilient economy.
These community priorities, and their implications for land use planning, are outlined in a report published by Hunter Renewal today: After the coal rush, the clean-up. A community blueprint to restore the Hunter. This blueprint could be a model for other Australian communities planning their transition away from fossil fuels.