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Job destroying automation has to stop says Outback advocate

Goonyella Riverside Coal Mine
Goonyella Riverside Coal Mine

A major mining giant’s decision to replace hundreds of workers with machines must be condemned and opposed, a champion of the Central Queensland people has said.

Longreach-based State Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar has condemned BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA’s) automation policy, which is blamed for making 300 workers lose their jobs to automation at the Goonyella Riverside Coal Mine, 206km southwest of Mackay.

‘Enormous impact’

Millar warned such mass unemployment would have an “enormous impact” and fail communities that service BMA’s Blackwater Coal Mine, 214km west of Rockhampton.

“The job-destroying automation of our existing mines has to stop,” he said in a public statement. “Regional communities are battling drought and we cannot afford to lose more jobs to boost the bottom line of international mining giants.”

Shadow Minister for Mines and Member for Burdekin Dale Last accused BMA of putting profit before people.

“This decision will rip the guts out of the local economy,” Last said. “I won’t sit by and let multi-national corporations put profits ahead of workers. It doesn’t matter if the redundancies are voluntary or not.”

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‘Not good enough’

The matter has been referred to State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, who also condemned BMA and demanded a review of regulatory approvals the State Government granted for the Goonyella mine.

“Not good enough BHP … the decision to automate 300 mining jobs is totally unacceptable,” Frecklington said on Facebook. “Mines in Queensland are approved on the basis of the jobs they will create. If mines no longer offer those jobs, their approvals should be reviewed.”

Such a review could involve Coordinator-General Barry Broe calling in the mine approvals until BMA agrees to deliver the jobs they promised, she said.