Union claims focus needed on immediate Collie concerns

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

A greater focus needs to be shifted onto immediate issues facing workers in Collie, according to CFMEU mining and energy State secretary Greg Busson.

The comments came after Mr Busson met with Premier Mark McGowan and Energy Minister Bill Johnston earlier this week.

He said it was a fruitful discussion as Mr McGowan and Mr Johnston understood his concerns.

“In our opinion the coal industry is in crisis given the financial viability of both companies especially coming into winter, even tough Premier Coal are in a much better position than Griffin,” he said.

“If Griffin Coal are struggling for funds now my concern ... is what happens in winter when there are less days to produce because of the weather with less machines now operating?”

Mr Busson said the union was committed to working with the Government to try to consolidate the coal and power industries during the transition process.

“We’re all for diversification and are fully supportive of it, but some focus needs to be put back on the immediate future of the coal and power industry in Collie,” he said.

“All of this other stuff is in the long-term, it could be five or six years before we get anything down here but people are having issues now.

“We are hopeful they are able to sit down with both companies so that they understand what their problems are.

“Then the companies, the Government and the unions can come together to create some certainty in terms of dates.”

Mr McGowan said his Government would continue working hard to create a sustainable and prosperous future for the town.

“The reality is, there has been an ongoing reduction in demand for coal that is creating the problem,” he said.

“We expect the local coal industry to continue for the foreseeable future, but it is important that we continue to plan for the transition in WA’s energy mix.”

He said the Government continued to talk with companies about creating employment opportunities for Collie people.

“We have made it clear that we want to see workers in the South West employed on these projects.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails