20 March 2018
Member for Roe Peter Rundle MLA has expressed his concern regarding the future of workers in Esperance after Cliffs announced they would cease shipping iron ore through Esperance by the end of June.
Cliffs formally notified contractors on Monday that it would wind down its business by 30 June, which supports hundreds of jobs at the mine, along the railway and haulage route and at the Port of Esperance.
Mr Rundle said that he was concerned for the future of workers in Esperance, as they faced imminent redundancies.
“Through their mine, Cliffs have supported hundreds of jobs in the Esperance community, and without a new rail and port user slotting straight in after they cease operations, these workers now face an uncertain future,” Mr Rundle said.
“Today in Parliament I questioned the Minister for Transport about what the Government was going to do to support these displaced workers, and if the Government were going to establish a taskforce like they did last year when the Ravensthorpe mine closed.”
The Minister for Transport failed to commit to the taskforce, but did say that the Minister for Mines and Petroleum was in discussion with other producers that could potentially use the railways and export through Esperance.
Mr Rundle said that given the government have known about the impending Cliffs closure for some time, the Minister’s answer was disappointing.
“We need to be focusing on how we can help these workers and their families who are unsure of their future,” Mr Rundle said.
“I’m calling on the Government to take immediate action to support the Esperance community.
“While I’m glad to hear that the Minister for Mines has been in discussions with potential replacement users, the longer the gap between Cliffs closing and any of these operations commencing, the more workers are put off and the more families face having to leave Esperance to seek employment.”