Mums put BHP boss on the spot

The letter hand-delivered to BHP CEO Marius Kloppers inviting him for a personal tour of Bowen Basin towns.
The letter hand-delivered to BHP CEO Marius Kloppers inviting him for a personal tour of Bowen Basin towns.

A TRIO of women who describe themselves as "just a bunch of mums" converged on BHP's Brisbane headquarters on Monday with a personal message.

Representing all women in Blackwater, Dysart, Emerald and Moranbah, the delegation delivered a letter and a special invitation to BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers to visit Bowen Basin towns.

They were left waiting and instead met with other BHP representatives, which group member Renee Hughes said wasn't enough, but it was a start.

"We didn't get to talk to Marius but hopefully the letter will be passed on to him," Mrs Hughes, a miner's wife from Dysart, said.

"That was the whole point - to get in there, give him the letter, and talk to him about these issues. We've come all this way to make it a personal gesture, and the least we could have hoped for was that courtesy be shown back."

A BMA spokeswoman confirmed the letter had been received and company representatives had met with the trio, who would then "carefully consider the content of the letter".

"BMA is committed to working with the communities in which it operates and engaging with community members," the spokeswoman said.

Mrs Hughes said the invitation was open, and all the trip would involve was a tour around each of the four towns so Mr Kloppers could see for himself the impact mining expansions have had.

On top of the list was the real possibility Dysart could be without a doctor as soon as next week and the general lack of services available in regional centres.

The inability to get fuel, soaring rental hikes and the lack of fresh food were also on the list which Mrs Hughes said would remain pivotal concerns for the group.

"People here in Brisbane take for granted they can go to the doctor and get fresh food," Mrs Hughes said.

"We just want the same services in our towns."

The submitted letter claimed BHP had in previous years cared more for their workers when the company made less.

"Now, our towns are dominated by camps of thousands of people while local families struggle with community services and facilities that are grossly inadequate," the letter stated.

"We applaud your recent public statements that BHP wants to 'create a more profound inter-linkage with communities...'.

"We invite you to visit our towns and meet with us, come and see for yourself the impact the mining boom is having on our lives."

The Single Bargaining Unit, comprising the AMWU, CFMEU and ETU, will this week meet with BHP representatives as part of enterprise agreement negotiations.

CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth said the only issue on the agenda would be housing and accommodation.

"The meetings will be a sit down with site representatives to talk about the housing situation," Mr Smyth said.

"The local representatives best know what is going on.

"We remain committed to getting this resolved as soon as possible, but not at the expense of our members."

Moranbah site representatives met with BMA yesterday, followed by Dysart today with Blackwater and Emerald tomorrow and Friday respectively.

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