Money troubles hit Hunter Vally locals

Lifeline say its financial counselling offices across the Hunter Valley are being swamped with people who have lost their jobs and don’t have back up plans.

Manager Wendy Maile said there is concern around the region’s financial security with the mining downturn affecting the local community.

She said mining contractors and casual workers had been worse hit by the job losses, and said many had not planned for the future, ABC reported.

"Certainly what we find is that people live to their income," she said.

"Especially in the mining industry where people believe their jobs are secure for the rest of their lives, which has been the situation in the past but is no longer the situation now."

Maile called for people experiencing hardship to seek help as early as possible to avoid being chased by creditors.

"The contractors that work in the mines that don't have back up plans," she said.

"They're having difficulty managing that financial difficulty.

"It's filtering down into our local tourism industry as well, the cleaners, the housekeepers, the casual employment, people are losing hours and the earlier we get involved the better the outcome."

There have been hundreds of job losses in the Hunter Valley over the last six months, as mining companies continue to cut costs on the back of weaker commodity prices.

GlencoreXstrata have slashed over 100 jobs at both their Ravensworth and Mount Owen coal mines, while Rio have also cut 40 roles from its Mt Thorley Warkworth mine.

Mining services companies are also feeling the pain, with Sandvik closing its hard materials facility in Mayfield, leading to 26 jobs lost.

NSW Minerals Council chief Stephen Galilee recently stated more than 600 jobs had been lost in Hunter’s coal sector in the last 12 months.

Jennifer Bowers, CEO of Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health said finances could put a huge amount on stress on people, and called on miners to be proactive and have a plan.

She recommended miners plan financial matters and be in control because “when you’re in control you know what’s happening, you can do something about it, it’s when it gets out of control that it becomes a problem”.

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