Collie councillors buoyed by Premier Coal presentation

South Western Times
Collie generic pics. Aurizon train & Worsley coal.
Camera IconCollie generic pics. Aurizon train & Worsley coal. Credit: The West Australian, Sharon Smith The West Australian

Premier Coal operations manager Jim Falconer has told Collie shire councillors a clause in Synergy’s coal contract should help provide confidence to workers in the industry and their families.

Mr Falconer told councillors that Premier’s contract with the State’s energy corporation included minimum as well as maximum annual tonnage requirements that were in place through to 2030.

The contract also has two five-year extension options beyond 2030.

Shire president Sarah Stanley said the presentation made by Mr Falconer to the Collie Shire Council was a reason for optimism in the town.

“This gives us some security while we continue to work on diversifying our economy,” she said.

She said the time frame of the take-or-pay clause provided a buffer for the town as it looked to secure its long-term future by attracting new industry to town.

Premier Coal provided 3.88 million tonnes of coal to Synergy last year, well above the 2.8 million tonnes required as part of the contract.

A statement from the council suggested it had been informed the Government currently paid $45/tonne for coal.

That means it would cost taxpayers $12.5 million a year even if coal-burning power stations near Collie were closed down.

“I can’t see any government, regardless of its political persuasion, putting this sort of burden on the State,” Cr Stanley said.

“The State would be better served by ensuring the economic environment is suitable to attract energy-intensive industries that would also provide jobs for our skilled workforce.”

As part of his presentation, Mr Falconer also confirmed 71 per cent of the company’s 380-strong workforce was Collie-based.

He said the company had also made a commitment to conduct as much of its maintenance work as possible without sourcing outside contractors.

Cr Stanley said she and other councillors were pleased to know that 270 people directly benefited from the company’s presence in the community while being kept as up-to-date as possible on operational manners.

“Regular and transparent communications with workers and the community is essential to give peace of mind, while allowing them to plan for future,” Cr Stanley said.

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