Central Wheatbelt MP Mia Davies has called on the McGowan Government to fast-track approval for a Westonia mine expansion or risk losing more local jobs.
Ms Davies said more than 100 jobs across Merredin, Westonia, Mukinbudin, Nungarin, Bodallin, Burracoppin and Kellerberrin had already been lost due to delays in the granting of a clearing application for a second pit at Ramelius Resources Edna May operations.
Failure to secure the clearing application – expected to be submitted to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety this week – would put further jobs at risk at Ramelius’ other mine sites at Narembeen and Southern Cross.
Ms Davies said despite being elected on a promise to create local jobs, the McGowan Government had done nothing to stimulate employment in the Wheatbelt.
“Along with the rejection of Mineral Resources’ Jackson 5 and Bungalbin East project proposals in December 2017 – which cost hundreds of local jobs – the sloppy handling of the Edna May assessment is a further black mark against the record of this McGowan Labor Government,” Ms Davies said.
“I am calling on the Government to expedite the approval process for the latest clearing application at Edna May because, frankly, if this is delayed much longer those local jobs will be lost forever, along with the flow-on economic benefits for our region.”
Ms Davies last month brought the issue to the Premier’s attention in State Parliament, questioning the Labor Leader on whether his commitment to create jobs extended beyond the metropolitan area.
“The Premier uses weasel words to spruik his jobs policy but when you peel back the layers Labor has no plan for job creation in the regions,” Ms Davies said.
“In fact, under Labor areas like the Central Wheatbelt are shedding local jobs at a record rate.
“It’s not good enough and I intend to hold the Government to account for their actions as it is hurting Wheatbelt businesses and families.”
The clearing application is part of Ramelius Resources’ Edna May mine expansion plans to extract an additional $100 million of gold from the mine, which would create more than 100 jobs.
After submitting a significantly revised clearing plan by way of appeal in March this year, almost a year after the initial application, it was ignored by both the Environment Minister and the appeals convenor.
That is despite the revised plan reducing the expansion area by almost 50 per cent and impacting less than 1 per cent of the local ecology.