Get on with it: the fight for jobs at New Acland
Our Union is calling on the Queensland Government to immediately approve Stage 3 of the New Acland coal mine. Coal miner Michael Hartin says New Acland workers are fed up after waiting 13 years for the project to get signed off: “We’ve seen 150 job losses already, as well as the flow on effect.”
In a joint statement, CFMEU National President Tony Maher and AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said coal mining jobs were essential to economic recovery.
“With the economic effects of COVID-19 playing havoc with the state’s economy, and the prospect of more job cuts at New Acland in the near future due to the delay of this project, it is the view of our unions that the Queensland Government can no longer just sit on the sidelines.
“The Premier has the power to act today. She should do so. It is unacceptable for the state government to rely on the excuse that the matter is ‘before the courts’ …
“It is possible to bog this project down in endless litigation. That is precisely what opponents of the expansion plan to do.”
The mine’s owners, New Hope Coal, have been trying to get approval for 13 years for Stage 3 of the pit, a project which will generate $7 billion.
If given the green light the mine expansion will save the 150 existing jobs and create 700 more positions – but due to the delays the mine has already lost 150 jobs at the mine and at the port of Brisbane.
Michael Hartin said New Acland coal miners were disappointed by the Government’s inaction.
“People at the mine are fed up, the whole community’s fed up. We’ve seen 150 job losses already, we’re now seeing another 25, as well as the flow on effect from cafes, restaurants, service stations around the area – they are also being directly affected by these job losses.
“For a lot of these politicians names like Goombungee, Meringandan, Oakey, they’re just names on a map, but to us, they are our areas where we’ve raised our kids, where we support our local communities and our shops, and to be honest the mood is angry, because a lot of people just think the government just doesn’t give a stuff,” he said.
What makes matter worse for locals is the preferential treatment the Adani Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin further North.
“For us it was disappointing to see the government go out of their way and approve Adani even while they were before the courts, even while they did not have any jobs on the line.
“Here at New Acland it is owned by an Australian company, mining Australian coal, with Australian workers who are actually paying their tax in Australia.
“For us thirteen years is way too long to say an application for a mine to still be waiting
“At the moment for us it feels like they have actually left and abandoned regional Queensland.”
The Union will be seeking support from candidates in the lead up to the Queensland state election on October 31st.