Muswellbrook Shire Council has set aside $10 million dollars to set up an economic development corporation to help the Upper Hunter survive the mining downturn and is asking for another $30 million from the New South Wales government.
If the plan is successful it will identify new business opportunities and create an extra 1,500 jobs for the region.
Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush said the project could provide similar benefits to the Hunter Advantage Fund which was set up in response to the Newcastle BHP Steelworks closure.
“We know that the advantage fund in Newcastle created almost 2,000 jobs from what is a smaller pool of commencement money,” he said.
“So we know that we can create those jobs if we go about it the right way.”
The idea comes in the wake of the Planning Assessment Commission’s decision to recommend the Drayton South mine extension not go ahead, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
Councillor Rush said it is important the state government jumps on board with the idea.
“The Muswellbrook Shire has been the enormous beneficiary over a number of years from money flowing from the coal industry, as has the state government,” he said.