Job losses shrugged off as town remains optimistic

COLLINSVILLE residents remain cautiously optimistic about the town's future, despite the recent sacking of 95 workers from a nearby coal mine.

Late last week, Xstrata Coal announced 95 Thiess contractors at the Collinsville Mine would be made redundant in January.

But the decision has failed to rattle many of the town's residents, who are all too aware of the boom and bust nature of the mining industry.

Lesa Forsyth owns the Collinsville Town and Country Hotel.

She said while her patrons were concerned about the job losses, they were also looking forward to new coal projects in the yet to be tapped Galilee Basin getting under way.

"It'll be quiet for a little while but certainly things will pick up, as they usually do," Ms Forsyth said. "It's just typical of the cycles here."

Earlier this month, Indian powerhouse Adani affirmed its plans to spend $10 billion on its Carmichael Mine project in the Galilee Basin.

The project will send about 60 million tonnes of coal a year via a railway, passing through Collinsville, to Abbot Point.

"The railway is going to be significant in 2013 and 2014 and that has a flow-on effect with other contractors," Ms Forsyth said. "People are relatively optimistic and are going to remain optimistic."

However, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said there would still be more pain to come following mass lay-offs of mine workers this year.

Mackay district vice president Steve Pierce said there was a negative flow-on effect to other industries for every mine worker who lost their job.

"If they're not there, there are other people who have their employment impacted upon," Mr Pierce said.

He estimated about 2000 Bowen Basin mine workers had lost their jobs since the downturn in the industry began earlier this year.

"Unions are really disgusted that every time there's a levelling of the market price these companies, drunk on the greed of massive profits, their first reaction is to terminate workers," Mr Pierce said.


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