This week the NSW Government announced that they will not make provision for the former Wallerawang power station site to be considered for an energy from waste facility. Lithgow Council had proposed inclusion of the site in the government’s plans on the basis of the potential for the baseload power and heat to attract significant investment in manufacturing and industries. The concepts being developed had an investment value of more than $1 billion and would deliver at least 500 new local jobs.

Lithgow Council has responded to the government’s announcement by quickly re-setting and moving attention to the alternatives to fundamentally re-shape the city’s future. Nothing has changed in terms of the “end game”. It is an inescapable truth that Lithgow’s economy is undergoing and will continue to undergo change. Economic change and growth requires investment – public and private. This city requires sustained and substantial investment.

Lithgow Mayor, Councillor Maree Statham has said “This Council is firmly focused on securing the city’s future as a prosperous place with a diversity of jobs for our community. Yes, we will see some growth of tourism jobs because of the Gardens of Stone and some discovery of the city’s natural beauty. We will see more jobs as a result of the need for health and allied services. There will also be some industry opportunities with the rise of Western Sydney. But many of these incremental changes will take years to realise. I believe that more urgency is required in our case.”

Mayor Statham added, “While we need to assemble a number of job-creating projects, one of the real game-changers for this city will be the activation of the Wallerawang site. I have a very clear vision of this site, with its more than 200 hectares of potential employment land, as a jobs rich precinct. I assure the community that we have flexed quickly to revisit and alternatively define how the development of this jewel of a site will be accelerated. The Council’s staff are working with expert advisors to develop the vision and the investment case for this precinct.”

Mayor Statham concluded, “Nothing has changed in terms of this Council’s focus on job creation. We just need to work even more innovatively.”