The human cost of project delays

THE tragedy of government incompetence and excessive red tape when it comes to coal mining approvals is the toll it takes on people’s lives and their futures.
The human cost of project delays The human cost of project delays The human cost of project delays The human cost of project delays The human cost of project delays

This is a human tragedy affecting hardworking people and their families and cannot be understood by looking at statistics alone.

Governments usually play lip service to reducing the bureaucratic burden but rarely come through with the goods.

In Queensland, the government's "Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs" plan will probably end up costing more jobs and creating more red tape.

This sad fact was demonstrated this week by New Hope Group's decision to roll out redundancies and pay cuts because of Queensland government failure to approve its New Acland Stage 3 project.

The Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the bipartisan support from Federal Labor and the LNP for the immediate approval of New Acland mine, however, the message seems to have stopped at Queensland's border along with any potential Victorian COVID-19 sufferers.

The company was left with no option despite months of lobbying trying to get the state government to step in and expedite the approvals process.

If approved New Acland 3 will create 450 jobs and bring about $7 billion in economic benefits for Queensland.

However, the government still dithers and says it wants to wait for a High Court challenge against the project by environmental group Oakey Coal Action Alliance.

This could take months, if not years.

So now the company has been forced to make 14% of its corporate workforce and 15% of the workers at its Queensland Bulk Handling port facility redundant.

The remaining workers at its corporate office, West Moreton, Burton and Bridgeport will move to a nine-day fortnight and take a 10% pay cut.

New Hope Group CEO Shane Stephan said the actions the company had been forced to take would impact more than 150 workers and their families.

"While this is regrettable, the reduction in hours and pay for our workforce means we can keep the number of redundancies to a minimum at this point in time," he said.

"However, continued uncertainty and delays around the approvals for Stage 3 will see production at New Acland continue to reduce and further redundancies will result across all areas of the business."

Hogsback really feels for those 150 workers and their families.

They are people in the community with hopes and aspirations like anyone else and deserve to have a chance to pursue their careers in their chosen profession.

No amount inane political sloganeering about the need to stop greenhouse gases is going to alleviate the pain that these people will go through.

If politicians thought through their decisions and weighed up the human cost against the official party line or against a environmental group's agenda they would act more decisively to approve coal mining projects that provide stability and employment.