Muswellbrook Council and Xstrata in apprentice dispute

 Xstrata and Muswellbrook Shire Council are fighting over apprenticeships issues during National Skills Week.

Martin Rush, Muswellbrook mayor, labelled Xstrata’s commitment to apprenticeships ‘pitiful’ after the miner knocked back a council plan to pay for two apprenticeships in perpetuity, according to the Newcastle Herald.

It comes on the back of the miner stating that it was unable to find ‘suitable’ candidates for six apprenticeships at its Mangoola coalmine, adding that none were ‘job ready’.

According to the Herald, Xstrata’s rejection of the ‘in perpetuity’ fund came after negotiations on how $300 000 of the miner’s money, which was part of the Mangoola mine approval, would be spent.

It followed the council’s decision to veto Xstrata’s push for the money to be spent on the miner’s apprenticeship costs.

However, both agreed to spend around $80 000 on a TAFE program to help young people seeking work in mining.

Xstrata say the council has yet to spend any of the $300 000, or of an additional $800 000 from the miner for community and environmental projects.

“Someone needs to ask why the council has chosen not to spend the community support funds,” Xstrata spokesperson James Rickards said.


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