AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Hunter coal capacity increase amid call to cap exports

<p>Hunter Valley coal trains will begin using Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) $67m Sandgate flyover this weekend after passenger and freight services were successfully trialled on the new junction last week.</p> <p>The flyover is part of rail and port upgrades to the Hunter network which will push capacity past 100m tonnes each year.</p> <p>The commissioning of the new infrastructure comes just two days after Newcastle City Council voted to cap the region’s coal exports.</p> <p>The council voted 7-3 to call on the New South Wales Government to cap present coal capacity at about 85m tonnes as a means of addressing climate change.</p> <p>The vote, begun by the Greens and supported by Labor councillors during a council meeting on Tuesday (November 7), remains merely a symbolic move on behalf of local residents.</p> <p>But Federal Labor’s Hunter MP, Joel Fitzgibbon, said the vote did not have the support of residents.</p> <p>Mr Fitzgibbon said that such a move would be devastating to the local economy, which was dependant on coal exports.</p> <p>&#8220Never has a local government body acted so contrary to the interests of its ratepayers,&#8221 Mr Fitzgibbon told the <em> Australian</em> .</p> <p>Supportive councillors want the NSW Government to impose a moratorium on new mines in the Hunter Valley and Gunnedah Basin, limiting the port’s throughput with a long-term view to reducing exports.</p> <p>Labor councillor Marilyn Eade said that the vote was not a call for the coal industry to close down, but &#8220maybe enough’s enough&#8221.</p> <br />