October 23, 2019
The State Government has blamed New Hope – operators of the New Acland coal mine – for the recent loss of 150 jobs at the mine.
In a letter to economic development group Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE), the Premier’s office pointed out that the redundancies occurred at the same time as:
- New Hope advised the ASX that it had recorded “its best full-year profit”, including a net profit after tax of $268 million,
- The company’s chief executive’s pay was increased by $284,442 to $2.11 million, and
- Stated Stage 2 reserve areas (at Acland) would be exhausted in early 2021.
“(This coal reserve) indicates that there is plenty of work available,” the letter from the Premier’s Office continued.
“The Queensland Government is concerned for the workers, their families and community who will be affected by New Hope’s decision to proceed with redundancies.
“Queensland Government agencies have been working diligently with the company to finalise significant approvals for the Stage 3 expansion project as quickly as possible.
“However, as you may know, Queensland’s Supreme Court of Appeal has recently issued draft orders regarding previous court decisions and it has been advised that, until the judicial process is complete, grant of mining leases for Stage 3 would likely be subject to further legal challenge and could be found invalid.
“This view is shared by New Hope. On September 10, 2019, New Hope issued a statement to the ASX advising that ‘the Company is pleased with the outcome and will wait for the Court to make its final orders before assessing the next steps for the New Acland Stage 3 project’.
“As soon as there is adequate certainty from the court process, the appropriate approvals will be granted.”
The retrenchments began after a September 1 deadline – set by New Hope to the State Government – passed without the mine approvals occurring.
On Wednesday, the LNP Opposition slammed the government for ” breathtaking arrogance and hypocrisy” over the proposed Acland mine expansion.
Shadow Mines Minister Dale Last said Labor had shown no sympathy for the workers who had lost their jobs.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk is anti-resources, anti-regions and anti-jobs,” Mr Last said.
“Labor’s approval process for Stage 3A is a complete joke and jobs are being lost because of it.
“For Labor to blame the company when they’re the ones playing politics with this project is a new low.”
LNP Member for Condamine Pat Weir said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was “inflicting an economic disaster” on Oakey.
“This letter from the Premier’s office is a slap in the face for those workers who’ve been let go and clearly shows they have no compassion for the workers and no interest in seeing this mine stay open,” he said.
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