State Labor has committed to creating a Hunter clean energy transition authority to help the region adjust to unprecedented social and economic change in coming years.
Shadow Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley said the policy was the result of discussions with community stakeholders and representatives from Victoria's Latrobe Valley about the best way forward for the region.
"A Hunter Authority is an important asset for our region to help maximise the jobs opportunities of emerging industries as part of the energy transition, along with reskilling and redeploying the existing workforce," she said.
While NSW Labor has not allocated specific funding to the authority's establishment, it says it will play a key role in skills training and creating new job opportunities. It will also work in partnership with a proposed TAFE manufacturing centre of excellence based in the Hunter and the proposed NSW Jobs First Commission.
"The Labor Party platform makes clear our support for a Hunter Authority to leverage the strengths of our region and ensure we remain a manufacturing and energy powerhouse for years to come," Ms Catley said.
"A Minns Labor government will invest in rebuilding our local manufacturing capabilities starting with building the next fleet of Tangara trains right here in NSW."
The authority would also complement the creation of the Hunter Renewable Energy Zone.
"The renewable energy zone is only the first step in leveraging our region's potential to remain our state's energy powerhouse well into the future," Ms Catley said.
"We need a local Hunter Authority to fully unlock the potential of our region and that is why we must get the model and funding resources required right."
An original $266 million investment kick-started the authority's work and enabled hundreds of jobs to be created through construction of around $750 million worth of major projects.
Alliance coordinator Warrick Jordan welcomed Labor's commitment to creating a Hunter authority and said he looked forward to hearing further details.
"There's widespread local support for a coordinated, practical approach to growing future jobs and supporting workers as the economy changes. We've seen some progress, but the obvious missing link has been a Hunter-based agency with boots on the ground and enough capacity to respond to local needs," he said.
"It's important a regional authority meets specific needs that aren't being addressed, and there are gaps in all those areas."
The Coalition government established a 10-member Hunter Valley expert panel late last year to provide input into the government's Royalties for Rejuvenation Fund.
The NSW government has committed at least $25 million each year from mining royalties to support coal mining communities in NSW through the fund.