News

Unions dig dirt on Norwich Park

Norwich Park Mine was still a hub of activity on Wednesday night, just two days before its closure.
Norwich Park Mine was still a hub of activity on Wednesday night, just two days before its closure.

CLAIMS BMA is intent on deunionising the Norwich Park pit were bolstered yesterday with the State Government claiming it knew of plans the mine would re-open once the coal market strengthened.

Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said on the record he had been in "consultation" with the mining giant and he took it "on face value" the mine had endured an extended period of low production, resulting in the decision to mothball the site from tonight.

But barely eight hours later, Mr Cripps justified his communication with the company.

"In my position as Mines Minister, the company has been regularly updating me on the future for the site and most critically, the future for workers and the local community of Dysart," Mr Cripps said.

"They have explained their decision was based upon a number of external factors that have led to the mine being unviable including flooding, lower coal prices and high costs.

"They have said their plans at the moment are to mothball the Norwich Park site."

Mr Cripps refused to be drawn in to the industrial dispute between BMA and the Single Bargaining Unit, comprising the AMWU, ETU and CFMEU, citing the ongoing battle was a "matter for the company and their employees".

The CFMEU has long held the view the cessation of the Norwich Park pit was a tactical ploy to remove union involvement in its 900-strong workers.

District president Stephen Smyth said he wasn't surprised at Mr Cripps' comments or the reaction from the State Government.

"They (the State Government) will always support those that support them," Mr Smyth said.

"It's interesting to note (the CFMEU) has written to the Premier (Campbell Newman) on two occasions regarding the Norwich Park lease to be freed up and given to someone else that will use it.

"It's disappointing he hasn't commented back."

Mr Smyth said the mine's lack of profitability was "nonsense" and the cessation an attempt to reintroduce a non-union affiliated workforce.

He said the Fair Work Australia ruling which found BMA had failed to communicate with the unions in good faith was a victory for the SBU, which represents more than 3500 workers across the Bowen Basin.

The FWA ruling combined with Norwich Park's cessation had bolstered the SBU's resolve.

"It has made us even more determined to push ahead with the dispute," Mr Smyth said.

BMA yesterday denied it had any plans to reopen the Dysart mine anytime soon.

"Norwich Park Mine will cease production indefinitely from May 11," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

"Cessation of production will stem further losses and allow key operating areas to be fully reviewed and hopefully significantly reset to provide an effective basis for the mine.

"Recommencement of production is subject to establishing a viable basis for the medium and longer term operation of the mine. No date is able to be provided at this stage."


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Achieving to the Max

ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER: Marie and Max Martin.

Max Martin is recognised for his hard work

Central Queensland entrepreneur invents peck-proof helmet

MAGPIE PROOF: Mike from Swoopaway with kids from the Blackwater PCYC.

Local cyclist solving the swooping problem.

Wander through new walking tracks

Explore the Rifle Range Reserve in Emerald.

New walking tracks open in the Rifle Range Reserve in Emerald

Latest deals and offers

40% of teens admit to getting in cars with drink drivers

RACQ research has revealed almost 40% of Queensland teens have been in a car with a driver who was over the legal alcohol limit.

Achieving to the Max

ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER: Marie and Max Martin.

Max Martin is recognised for his hard work

Central Queensland entrepreneur invents peck-proof helmet

MAGPIE PROOF: Mike from Swoopaway with kids from the Blackwater PCYC.

Local cyclist solving the swooping problem.

Wander through new walking tracks

Explore the Rifle Range Reserve in Emerald.

New walking tracks open in the Rifle Range Reserve in Emerald

New CEO passionate about agricultural education

STEPPING UP: Queensland Agricultural Training College's new CEO Mark Tobin with Queensland Agricultural Minister Leanne Donaldson.

Mark Tobin excited for new role.

Elm Street is far from a nightmare

Elm street's new album is making waves. Photo Contributed

Elm Street talks about drumming studios, power metal and the album.

What's on the small screen this week

Keira Maguire and Richie Strahan in a scene from The Bachelor.

SEVEN gears up for the Rio Olympics while The Bachelor continues.

Drowning Pool gig review at Max Watt's

Drowning Pool played Brisbane with A Breach of Silence and She Cries Wolf at the Max Watt's House of Music.

Drowning Pool prove that 'bodies' hit the floor when they play

#SaveMarinaJoyce: How ISIS theory took over youtube channel

One young Youtuber accidentally gave rise to a conspiracy theory

Talking whiskey with Jack Daniel’s master distiller

It all comes down to the distillery

SIXTY MILES AHEAD sign with Eclipse Records, prepare new album 'Insanity'

Sixty Miles Ahead sign with Eclipse. Photo Contributed

Sixty Miles Ahead to release new album on Eclipse

Queensland's $1 town goes under the hammer today

The township of Yelarbon is up for sale.

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles