1100 job losses hit home

THE decision by BHP Billiton to lay off 1100 coal workers by June has struck at the very heart of regional Queensland, with the Queensland Resources Council estimating 2650 jobs will be cut from the mining and minerals processing industry in the state.
1100 job losses hit home 1100 job losses hit home 1100 job losses hit home 1100 job losses hit home 1100 job losses hit home

 

Angie Tomlinson

“In the space of one day, our estimate of job losses in mining and minerals processing in Queensland has jumped from 1250 to 2650, with no hint of tolerance from a recession now entrenched in our major markets,” QRC chief executive Michael Roche said Wednesday as he did an about-turn on QRC’s announcement a few days ago that Queensland’s resource diversity would help shield its economy.

BHP Billiton said yesterday it would sack 1100 workers from its metallurgical coal mines as it moves to cut output over the next six months.

A BHP spokesperson told ILN the majority of job losses will come from Queensland operations and 70% of job cuts will be contractors.

The hurt to contractors did not stop with the BHP announcement, with news on the same day that Bounty Industries had lost its contract with Anglo Coal at Aquila and would have to let go of 46 contractors and most likely the majority of its 50 employees at the project.

The two announcements are the latest in a growing line of job cuts at Queensland’s coking coal mines.

“This is a particularly sad day for the Bowen Basin and Townsville, as the region is still coming to terms with the collapse of north Queensland investment house Storm Financial,” Roche said on the job losses from BHP’s coal mines and the Yabulu nickel refinery.

“The crash in global steel production is punishing Queensland hard as it flows on to components such as metallurgical coal, nickel and zinc.

“Of great concern, and what we have to factor in as a state and a nation, is the impact on regional communities as resource sector job losses flow on through economic multipliers to other industries.”

For example, Roche said, in the Bowen Basin the resources sector is responsible directly and indirectly for one in every four jobs.

“The QRC is urging state and federal governments to give their highest priority to stemming the inevitable flow-on of unemployment to regional communities in Queensland,” he said.

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