Anglo American has served an eviction order on the local post office in Middlemount, Queensland.
Anglo American, which owns the local shopping village, said there has been an “ongoing dispute” between the miner and the shop owner.
The dispute is believed to be over a sign on display in the post office’s window.
The sign was of a children’s drawing with the words “Middlemount – where everyone is welcome”.
Post office co-owner Chris Griffiths said he added the words “except family, children and visitors” to the sign and posted it outside the shopfront which he and his wife have run for almost four years, about two weeks ago.
Griffiths told Australian Mining he was contacted by Anglo American telling him to take it down within 48 hours as it was “offensive” otherwise an eviction notice would be served.
“Anglo’s reasons weren’t good enough to take it down,” he said.
“It’s breaching rights, freedom of speech and Middlemount.”
The post office owners have been instructed to strip out the shop and vacate by December 31.
“The shop lessee has been asked to vacate the Anglo American owned Middlemount community shopping complex due to a breach of the tenancy agreement,” a spokesperson for Anglo American stated.
Griffiths said an extension was requested but not granted.
“We close today,” he said.
“Standing our ground, we’ll shut and we’re on the path to being evicted.”
Griffith said he is “pro-Middlemount” but growing up in the area he is concerned about the effects mining camps are having on the region.
“We think [the sign] is true, families and children aren’t welcome,” he stated.
He explained the increasing number of mining camps and the transient nature of the workers means there’s “not a lot of families and children here”.
“It’s creating a culture that denigrates the region.”
Commenting, Anglo said there were “irreconcilable differences” between the two parties.
“The shop lessee had been contacted on a number of occasions, including in writing, and asked to remove offensive paraphernalia from the shop clapboard after complaints were received from community members, but the material was not taken down,” an Anglo American spokesperson said.
Another notice has been posted outside the shop today, notifying the community.
“The eviction has been brought against us [the shop owner] due to the fact that the Anglo American Corporation does not like one of our display signs,” a notice outside the post office reads.
Mail can still be collected from the shop during normal business hours, however no other services including sending out mail will be made available.
The nearest mail services will be available from Tieri, Dysart, Mackay, Emerald and Rockhampton.