Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge says the imminent sacking of the remaining Queensland Nickel workers will increase pressure on the job market in town.
Plant administrators FTI Consulting this afternoon released a statement saying they will be meeting with the 550 workers tomorrow to inform them their contract have been terminated.
“Any jobs that are lost in our region have a flow on effect to all the neighbouring communities, we have people in Charters Towers that work in all areas,” Cr Beveridge says.
“This loss of jobs will impact because there will be that many more people competing for jobs, it really is a difficult situation and it couldn’t come at a worse time for families who are already suffering.”
Councillor Beveridge says it’s the perfect opportunity for the State Government to push through additional projects in the region.
“It just puts an added pressure on the Government to do something, they can relieve the impediments to agriculture by changing things and they have to do it now,” he says.
“This just amplifies the fact we’ve been trying to expand the agricultural industry here for quite some time we’ve had them here looking at accessing water on the Burdekin and they can do things with tree clearing laws and water to help soak up these jobs.”
He says it’s more bad news for job seekers in town, with extra bodies soon to be joining the race for employment.
“Unfortunately we’re going to have to get through this, this sort of thing has happened previously but at the moment we’ve already got very high unemployment, the regional unemployment is 15.1 per cent,” he says.
“This will just be another problem that we have to deal with and just means it’ll be a longer period of time we’re in this slump until we can work out way out of it.”
Councillor Beveridge has called on anyone in the region who has lost their job to seek professional financial advice before it becomes too late.
“A lot of people wait until they run out of money or the bills become a pile that is unachievable so they have to be doing something about the situation now,” he says.
“Jobs are only going to become harder to come by now so those who have been working at Yabulu should get advice immediately.”
It looks like continuing a worrying trend of people leaving North Queensland, moving to more fruitful job opportunities down south.
“Not so much Charters Towers but Townsville has seen a transition to Brisbane for quite a while now,” Councillor Beveridge says.
We’ll bring you more information as it comes to us.