Diverse Collie better for all according to Sarah Stanley
The complicated circumstances that have caused uncertainty in Collie require a multi-pronged solution, according to shire president Sarah Stanley.
“A lot of people would like there to be one magical bullet to be a saviour in the town but I don’t think that’s what our future will look like,” she said.
“I think it will take a range of different opportunities – I think in terms of the health of our community as a whole that is what will be best for us.
“For a long time we’ve been known as just a coal mining town – we’re much more than that already but that’s all we are known as.
“That whole town is still impacted by anything that happens in the coal mining sector, but if we have a more diverse and sustainable economy, that impact is minimised.”
Cr Stanley said opportunities needed to be created for workers when the coal and power industries changed, but opportunities in other sectors would help create a welcoming environment.
“That is about families choosing to live here rather than one person working here and the rest of the family being based elsewhere,” she said.
“We need a broad and diverse community that is attractive for people to base themselves in.”
The latest figures provided to the council show that 60 per cent of workers at the town’s power stations do not live in town while 40 per cent of miners also travel from outside Collie.
“Worsley is the biggest employer in our town and it only has somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent local employment,” Cr Stanley said. “I’ve been asking for some updated figures on that because I’ve heard as low as 8 per cent at different times.
“That has a huge impact because there is no flow on effects – they’re not paying rates, they’re not spending money in the shops, they’re not in our schools and they’re not in our sporting clubs.”
Retailers who spoke to the Bunbury Herald suggested this was part of the reason for a growing number of empty store fronts in the town’s centre as they were forced to compete with stores outside of Collie.
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