September 20, 2019
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington says the LNP is “standing with the workers” employed at the New Acland coal mine and will continue to fight for their jobs.
Redundancy notices began being handed out this week at the mine by operators, New Hope, after a deadline set by the company for the State Government to approve the Stage 3 expansion of the mine passed without action.
Speaking at a mini-rally of New Hope employees in Brisbane on Thursday, Mrs Frecklington blamed “a lack of decision-making” by the State Government for the loss of the jobs.
“I spoke to a few of (the miners by phone) who were in the front bar of the Quinalow pub, and I can tell you the message to Annastacia Palaszczuk is clear: ‘Stop lying and stop telling mistruths. Do your job and give the approvals so New Hope can continue to employ these hard-working people’,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“They are good, hard-working, local community people; people with families who have given so much to the Darling Downs over the years.”
Mrs Frecklington said the Premier had been asked what assistance would be given to the people of Oakey.
“The answer in Parliament this week was nothing,” she said.
Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last said the mining lease and associated water licence approvals for the mine expansion could be signed off today, giving Acland mine workers certainty and hope for the future.
“This is a crisis that is unfolding at Oakey and the surrounding areas … and there is absolutely no reason why this Premier cannot sort this out today,” he said.
New Hope chief development officer Ben Armitage said 150 employees were being made redundant and would finish work in October.
“This should never have happened,” he said.
Mr Armitage also warned that if the Premier did not give the mine approvals, “this time next year, another 150 of our employees will face redundancy”.
“It is completely unacceptable to us. It is unacceptable to the community and it’s unacceptable to the whole of Queensland,” he said.
The rally was told that jobs would also be lost at the Port of Brisbane.
A Queensland Bulk Handling employee said up to half the jobs at her facility could be lost in the future.