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Mining centre to ghost town: Blackwater's cry for help

CALL FOR ACTION: The Coalfields Community Group sent representatives met with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Brisbane late 2015. Photo Contributed
CALL FOR ACTION: The Coalfields Community Group sent representatives met with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Brisbane late 2015. Photo Contributed Contributed

IT IS the Central Queensland mining town that's at risk of becoming a ghost town.

With businesses packing up and leaving and the casualisation of the mining workforce, Blackwater residents are really feeling the pinch.

Two years ago Sallee Collins and several other locals formed a committee to see if they could get the Premier to tackle the issue of workforce casualisation in the mines.

The Blackwater Community Group was determined to make a change and went to see the Premier as well as the "head honchos" of the mines down in Brisbane.

"We, as a group, wanted to try and be heard," Sallee said.

"The Premier was supposed to come out and meet with us in Blackwater; she hasn't.

"There's been no change, except there's been more camps made and apparently (one of the mines) have an agreement where workers don't have to be housed in town, they can just go into camps."

The Morning Bulletin contacted the Premier's office to see if a trip to Blackwater was on the cards.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Darren England / Courier Mail

A response issued by a spokesman for the Premier did not indicate a date for a trip to the mining town.

However, he said the Queensland Government was implementing labour hire reforms to ensure only operators who complied with workplace health and safety laws would be licensed and employers can only use licensed operators.

"The government has also banned 100% fly-in, fly-out mines.

"Workers cannot be discriminated against for where they live."

With no date set for a Blackwater visit, the Premier's spokesman said the government was working with local councils, including Central Highlands Regional Council, to create jobs, and deliver infrastructure to areas in need.

"The government is working on programs such as our $400 million Works for Queensland and $375 million Building Our Regions programs, delivering infrastructure in partnership with local councils with the $177.5 million Back to Work jobs program to support local employers to recruit staff," he said.

The spokesman said Premier Palaszczuk visited Central Queensland last month and planned to travel to the Wide Bay-Burnett region this week and also Toowoomba.

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