Hang on, help is on the way

Local businesses hurt by the closure of BHP Billiton's nickel operation on the south coast will receive a helping hand from the miner and the State Government.

Local businesses hurt by the closure of BHP Billiton’s nickel operation on the south coast will receive a helping hand from the miner and the State Government.

Premier Colin Barnett announced that Cabinet had agreed to an initial assistance package to allow the Shire of Ravensthorpe to maintain local services and to provide grant assistance to local businesses.

Essential State Government services will be given up to $5million in assistance.

BHP Billiton is also considering compensating businesses as well as affected employees and their families.

BHP media relations officer Kelly Quirke told MINING DAILY that all employees affected by the mine closure would receive their full statutory entitlements.

“We understand the impact that last weeks announcement had on employees and their families and we will be doing everything we can to support our people,” Quirke said.

“We are giving particular focus to redeployment opportunities within our own business.”

According to BHP, workers who cannot be redeployed will get a minimum redundancy package of 14 weeks pay.

Centrelink has also dispatched staff to Hopetoun and Ravensthorpe to assist sacked workers.

Manager Ron Fernandez says specialist staff will be available to speak directly with those affected.

“It is indeed quite traumatic for some especially for those who have been in employment for a long period of time,” he said.

“We’ll also have social workers on the ground if anyone is feeling anxious about their situation, so there will be a lot of specialist support on the ground to help them out.”

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