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150 workers will be let go after industry’s plea fell on deaf ears

New Hope workers
New Hope workers

A diversified energy and mining company has confirmed it will retrench several of its staff in southern Queensland.

New Hope Group (NHG) will let go 150 workers at its New Acland Coal (NAC) Mine after the State Government failed to approve a proposed expansion after taking up to 12 years to decide.

The proponent tried to avoid giving so many people the axe before Christmas by repeatedly asking Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for a face-to-face meeting to discuss outstanding approvals needed for stage three mining leases, an associated water licence and to continue using the Jondaryan Rail Facility.

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September deadline missed

New Hope previously warned the government in June that approvals would be needed by September 1 to avoid the job losses and provide continuity of operations between stages two and three of the project.

“It’s disappointing the premier has again refused to communicate with New Hope Group regarding the fate of 150 Darling Downs workers,” New Hope chief development officer Ben Armitage said in a public statement. “The State Government can absolutely make a decision on NAC Stage 3 at any time … Queenslanders expect its leaders to make decisions, not excuses.”

‘Decent job’

NAC coal handling and preparation plant manager Andy Scouller revealed the premier told him his “job was a good, decent job.”

“I guess she didn’t mean it,” Scouller said.

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