Bill Johnston accepts Collie invite to address community meeting

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Minister for Energy Bill Johnston
Camera IconMinister for Energy Bill Johnston Credit: The West Australian

The Minister for Energy Bill Johnston has accepted an invitation invite to attend a Collie community meeting tonight.

It will be the fourth in a series of community meetings that have been arranged by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union to address calls to diversify the town’s economy.

At December’s meeting the community called for the minister to attend Friday’s meeting.

Mr Johnston said he was looking forward to meeting Collie’s community and hearing its concerns first hand.

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“It’s important that I listen to the locals and make sure I understand their needs,” he said.

“Our aim is to develop and implement a plan to help diversify the economy and provide long-term security.”

AMWU secretary Steve McCartney said the minister’s acceptance of the invitation invite was an important step as the mining and industry driven community planned for the future.

“We think its great that he’s coming down to talk to people about his vision and about the direction Collie people want their town to go in,” he said.

“Once we sent the letter we got a quick response and had a meeting about the expectations of the people in town.

“We gave the minister with as much background as we could so that when he walks in he already understands some of the idiosyncrasies.”

Mr McCartney said he had high hopes that the minister will be well positioned to listen to what the community has to say while also outlining the thinking behind any government plans.

“It’s a community that needs answers fairly quickly to make sure we can control the local economy.”he said.

“We don’t want investors to get frightened and run away while also protecting the personal investment of everyone that lives in the town.”

Around 150 people attended the December meeting and Mr McCartney is hopeful that twice as many people will attend tonight.

“We want to make sure that people in town who want to talk to the minister about their future come down and have a say,” he said.

“This is a golden opportunity for the community to tell the government what they want in their town instead of being told by the government what they want to have.”

The meeting will take place at Collie Music Shell from 5.30pm.

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