Contractors will struggle to find work in Bowen Basin: CFMEU

The CFMEU says contract workers in the Bowen Basin are going to struggle to find work in the region as more companies cut jobs.

After Ensham Resources announced  yesterday that it was cutting 400 jobs from its open-cut coal mine near Emerald, CMFEU spokesman Steve Smyth says contracting companies would find it hard to place workers within the Bowen Basin.

"Companies like Goldings, considering where their other operations are limited, they're going to struggle," he said.

"On the back of the Gregory Mine shutting down, that itself, the company will struggle to fill the roles or ensure people that are laid off will have jobs to go to."

Acting Central Highlands Mayor Gail Nixon echoed his concern, saying flow-on effects from the job cuts were expected.

"I know that a lot of people have invested in housing in Emerald and all the surrounding areas and they need to keep those payments up," she said.

"It will be difficult for them to find employment in this climate.

"I just hope for these people on a personal level that they can find employment somewhere else and they're not put to too much hardship in doing that.

"It's sad to here that these people have been stood aside and the businesses will suffer, those contracting businesses, but there's probably other opportunities for them too."

However, the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) spokeswoman Sandra Hobbs says that with many local businesses struggling to find staff, there were plenty of job opportunities in the community.

"Local businesses are saying that they're able to secure skilled staff, which has been a real positive for the situation," she said.

"Housing prices are now starting to come down and the provision of housing at cheaper rates has made a big difference to the confidence of people as well."

Hobbs says while many contractors fly-in and fly-out, a large number still live in Emerald.

"In some situations definitely people are leaving, even though a lot of these losses have been with contractors and they aren't local people," she said.

"I think those that have experienced that loss where they don't have immediate opportunities, then they are leaving the area."

The Bowen Basin has been rocked with mine closures and job cuts since early this year with Xstrata, BHP and Rio Tinto all cutting jobs at its operations in the region.

Image: Geoscience Australia

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