Macquarie University
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Policy, politics and place: the transformation of the New South Wales coal industry after 1980

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posted on 2022-03-28, 11:44 authored by Rodney Maxwell Buckton
This thesis undertakes an economic and social history of the NSW Coal industry since 1980 - a significant research gap - taking a deductive and multidisciplinary approach combining a systematic quantitative and qualitative economic history with spatial and policy history. The thesis has twin aims. The first aim is to historicise how Government resource policy and governance, have been the hand-maiden of development, shaping and steering adaptive but reactive policy, towards corporate and transnational interests and complicity with regional sectoral interests. A consequence has been a 'muting' of energy and planning policies, bringing the coal industry into conflict with place - people, communities, environment - through permitting a spatially expanding coal industry. The second aim to provide an update economic history of the industry, which quantitatively charts both the expansion in production and the resulting enlarged spatial footprint and higher visibility of the industry. In this period, the industry underwent its greatest expansion. Its mode of governance and the high levels of scrutiny - using my theoretical setting of Foucauldian Governmentality - in resource allocation, approvals and mode of operation, was manifestly a historically significant reconfiguration of the power relationships and alignments between the State, labour, mine operators and community. These are relationships shaped by the State's accommodation of an export industry operating under the neo-liberal globalisation narrative, and a continuance of the mentalities of Government, labour and capital, formed by developments during the war and post-war period.


Table of Contents

1. Situating the thesis -- 2. An economic history -- 3. Politics, policy and place -- 4. Social impacts and resistance -- 5. Conclusion -- 6. Bibliography.


Bibliography: pages 118-135 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Department, Centre or School

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mark Hearn


Copyright Rodney Maxwell Buckton 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




New South Wales


1 online resource (135 pages) colour illustrations, colour maps

Former Identifiers