Qld mine workers tell the government where to go

Man in workwear with arms folded

Queensland mining company QCoal has launched a public campaign against the State Labor Government over its decision to force 800 mine workers to live in a town without shops, permanent police or medical facilities.

QCoal, which owns and operates six mines across Queensland, was blindsided by the State Government cynically introducing targeted legislation attached to a child protection bill.

The secret legislation will force the closure of an established mining camp and threaten the future of Byerwen mine and its 800 jobs.

QCoal Chief Executive James Black said the so-called “save Glenden” campaign may have given the State Government a headline, but it had threatened the future of a massive export business and the 800 workers, 90 per cent of whom live in central or north Queensland.

“No one in the government asked the actual workers, the miners who work 12.5 hours a day, seven days straight, where they wanted to live. It’s a disgrace,” he said.

“Our workers have been told where to go by the State Government, and they are not happy about it, so we owe it to them to fight on their behalf.

“Enough is enough as far as we’re concerned. We have quietly worked away in Queensland for 35 years, hiring locally, spending locally, paying our taxes and coal excise, and just getting on with the job,” Mr Black said.

“Instead of supporting a good local business, the State Labor Government played favourites and shafted us while supporting a massive European multinational mining company.

“And the worst part is, it won’t even save Glenden”

In August 2023 the State Government secretly attached an amendment to the Child Protection Amendment Bill forcing QCoal to close its workers’ camp over the next five years and move its entire workforce into Glenden, a small mining town established by Glencore more than 40 years ago, and 40 minutes’ drive from the mine.

The State Government conversely approved a 1000-person permanent camp for Glencore the same distance from the town.

“The fact is Byerwen is a drive in, drive out mine which employs people from Townsville, Mackay, Collinsville, Whitsunday and Bowen. These workers are on 12.5 hour shifts, seven days on, seven days off and already live in regional towns. They want to stay in the camp.

“Unfortunately, that leaves us with no option but to run an extensive public campaign, the first in our history, on behalf of our workers against this appalling decision,” Mr Black said.

“The thousands of people across Queensland who work in the mining industry need to know that the State Government will betray them at the drop of a hat if it gives them a nice headline,” Mr Black said.

For more information on the campaign see the website: https://www.tellthemwheretogo.com.au/