Blackwater community bands together for the long haul

MOVE ON: Signs have been erected around town.
MOVE ON: Signs have been erected around town.

WITH signs painted at the entrance into town asking "Are you ok Blackwater?", the community has come together to support the local businesses, families and jobs, and has taken a stand against separating families and shutting shop doors.

The uncertainty of permanent jobs after changes at BMA Blackwater Mine has seen a community group formed, putting up petitions in businesses and organising meetings.

The action aims to "do something" about the current climate.

One of the many members Zoe Fuller, who has lived in town her entire life, said they didn't want to be seen as "people whinging about wages, or pitting permanents against contractors", but a group who wanted to keep the fabrication of the community together and encourage families to town.

"It's the support of our town," Zoe said.

"Some people have seen the petitions and said 'I'm a contractor though', but it's not about that, if you have a home here, have kids at the school, or even if you just buy groceries at Woolies, it affects you."

Zoe said plenty of contractors had lived in town for years, bought homes and supported the community, but it was taking local families out of town and having a transient workforce they were worried about.

She said they held a small meeting last week and discussed what they could do to promote businesses and families.

Group members had a table set up at the Country Club's spectacular on Saturday, with the petition on hand.

Already close to 1000 signatures had been received.

Another meeting was held in town on Monday night.

Gregory MP Lachlan Millar said it was the community groups that kept the town going.

"This is about investing not only in the communities, but the people that work in the mines," Mr Millar said.

"They do so much more than working in the mine, they open a small business, where it's the local hairdresser or local florist, or a small cafe.

"I mean the money goes right around the community and, most importantly, they provide that organisation spirit we need, whether it's the local rugby league or netball club.

"It's the very fabric of our towns out here and we need to maintain that."

Topics:  blackwater bma mine local business petition

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