The Hunter Jobs Alliance has been offered a place on an expert panel to advise State Parliament on how to spend an annual $25 million as part of the Royalties for Rejuvenation fund for mining communities.

It’s hoped the money could help further the Alliance’s push for a new “Hunter Valley Authority”, which would help guide the region’s development alongside the Government in a similar way to the new panel. 

The Alliance was launched last November as a coalition of unions and environmental organisations to help the region and local mining communities move into a post-coal economy.

They’re hoping to launch a new Future-proofing the Hunter: Voices from our community report at an event in Singleton this evening, based on consultation with the community.

Alliance coordinator Warrick Jordan says it’s the sort of ideas in that report they’ll be taking to the panel.

“There’s things that are focused on supporting individual workers, there’s support for small businesses, in particular to diversify, that’s an essential part of any regional adjustment program,” Mr Jordan said.

“There’s also longer-term approaches around attracting investment and attracting and diversifying industry.”

More than 100 people are expected the attend the launch of the report at Club Singleton this evening, but the Alliance will join Business Hunter, the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, and an organisation representing the region’s ten councils at a roundtable in Singleton on December 6.

Mr Jordan says it’s a real privilege for the Alliance to be able to advocate for the Hunter.

“We know that when you’re trying to get to grips with major economic changes, it’s really important to have as many community voices around the table as possible, and it’s really important to be feeding those ideas in,” Mr Jordan said.

“The Hunter Jobs Alliance is just one voice of many, and there’s a lot of stakeholders who’ve got good things to contribute.”

This comes after weeks of protests by Blockade Australia activists at the Port of Newcastle and Hunter coal train lines, with fears local workers sympathetic to environmental concerns may have been alienated.

But Mr Jordan says a just transition doesn’t need to compromise on the climate.

“You know, global issues around climate change and the like, that obviously a lot of people are concerned about,” Mr Jordan said.

“There’s a place for a more common sense response, and a more middle-ground conversation, and we think that the community is absolutely up for that, and we can see progress on that front.”