Businesses set to suffer as 700 jobs axed by BHP

Local businesses in Central Queensland already reeling from a down turn in the mining sector expect to feel more pain after BHP Billiton announced it was cutting 700 jobs.

Jobs are expected to disappear from Goonyella Riverside, Peak Downs, Saraji, Broadmeadow, Caval Ridge, Daunia and Blackwater mines.

In a clear sign of how the mining industry can prop up and tear down local economies, many say the future of their towns looked bleak.

With jobs gone, wages go with it, and everything from take-away shops, hairdressers and mining service companies are set to feel the pinch.

Blackwater Progress Association chair Steve Grant said the local community was shocked by the company’s decision, ABC reported.

"I suppose people didn't see this coming and from now it's going to be a wait and see to see how it does affect the town," Grant said.

"The community has been struggling already with Curragh's cuts and these further cuts by BMA is going to put a lot of pressure on the families that are left."

Grant predicts property value will plummet in the town and said he hoped that those who stay “are not left in a ghost town that’s hardly got any services”.

Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said up to 200 people from Blackwater are expected to be impacted by BHP’s decision.

"This is obviously on top of the downsizing we've had throughout the whole industry in the Bowen Basin,” Maguire said.

"Blackwater and the mine there are obviously a large employer in the resources sector and it's very disappointing to see any number going.”

The situation is much the same at Moranbah, where some are accusing BHP of not being transparent enough with the community, Daily Mercury reported.

Moranbah Traders Association president Trehan Stenton said the town will need help from both the state and federal governments to survive.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said the cuts would have a devastating affect on the local community.

"The majority of these job losses are coming from BMA's residential mines in our region, which directly impacts our communities," she said.

"With six BMA mines in Isaac, many of these job cuts will affect Isaac residents."

Baker wants theNewman government to review the current 100 per cent FIFO practices at Caval Ridge and Daunia mines in wake of the job cuts.

"This clearly shows the urgent need to reassess 100% forced FIFO work practices on our doorstep," she said.

"This is the biggest hit to us this year, it's heart wrenching to see so many community members directly affected.

"It will touch every aspect of our communities and the economic impact will be felt far and wide across the region.

"It's more important than ever that people across regional Queensland have opportunities to contend for jobs in mines in our region."   

The CFMEU has also hit out at BHP for the job cuts.

“700 job cuts will devastate Central Queensland. We will not tolerate BHP cutting permanent jobs in favour of precarious arrangements like labour hire and contracting,” CFMEU Mining and Energy General Secretary Andrew Vickers said.

“BHP is demonstrating a horrifying disregard for jobs and for the future of Central Queensland with today’s announcement,” Vickers said.

“BHP has profited enormously from Central Queensland resources over many years, but today they are showing their true colours as a ruthless multinational corporation.”

BHP blamed the workforce restructure on challenging market conditions and weak coal prices.

The company said it was forced to cut jobs to ensure the viability of its Queensland operations.

Images: merge.com.au

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