New Hope says it has been given no choice but to begin the process to make 150 workers redundant at the New Acland mine after State Government silence on the approvals required for life extension.
Crews were informed as they started work at 6am today, the company said in a written statement.
CFMEU Mining and Energy’s Queensland district executive called on the Queensland Government to act urgently, saying it had been sitting on its hands regarding the proposed New Acland Stage 3 expansion.
“As a consequence, the company is now starting a process to identify 150 jobs for redundancy as existing coal reserves run out,” district president Stephen Smyth said.
“The workforce and the community need certainty. These are good, existing jobs that support families and add enormous value to the region.
“The Stage 3 proposal is a sensible one, providing for the best mine rehabilitation program in the state.
“The Queensland Government can act now by declaring it a prescribed project and working with stakeholders to ensure there are no job losses.”
Mr Smyth said coal miners were sick of having their livelihoods used as a political football.
The mine has faced a series of legal battles with Oakey Coal Action Alliance.
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the government was awaiting the decision of the Court of Appeal before deciding on matters relating to the New Acland mine expansion.
New Hope is awaiting the State Government’s verdict regarding Stage 3 mining leases, an associated water licence; approval to continue using the Jondaryan rail facility.
It says the sooner the approvals for Acland Stage 3 are given the sooner new jobs can be created and fewer jobs lost through the transition from Stage 2 to Stage 3.
“The Palaszczuk Government is responsible for 150 workers and their families losing their livelihoods leading into Christmas,” New Acland coal general manager Dave O’Dwyer said.
“New Hope remains open to working with the Queensland Government to save jobs and secure the future prosperity of Oakey and the surrounding region. Twelve years to wait for approvals is long enough.”
New Acland Coal Mine’s application to expand the mine (Stage 3) was approved by the Co-ordinator General in 2014 and the Environmental Authority (EA) was approved in March this year.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said she was appalled at Labor’s failure to approve the extension of the New Acland coal mine by today’s deadline.
“The town of Oakey is staring at economic ruin just because Annastacia Palaszczuk can’t make a decision,” she said.
“Labor is trying to destroy New Acland Stage 3 just like it tried to destroy the Carmichael mine,” she said.