Member for Roe Peter Rundle MLA has welcomed today’s announcement by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum that the Government is in talks with parties interested in filling the gap left by the closure of Cliffs Koolyanobbing mine.
Minister Bill Johnston told Parliament that his office, together with representatives from the Premier’s Office, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Regional Development have met with a number of parties who are either engaged in discussions with Cliffs to potentially acquire its Koolyanobbing assets, or interested in facilitating other parties using those assets.
Under questioning from Mr Rundle in Parliament yesterday, Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti failed to commit to establishing a Government taskforce similar to the one formed after the Ravensthorpe Mine closed in 2017.
Mr Rundle said he was pleased to see the Government begin to take action, with the Cliffs closure leaving railway, port and mine workers facing redundancies.
“Hundreds of people are employed as part of the mining, transportation and exporting of Cliffs iron ore, and these workers and their families face an uncertain future,” Mr Rundle said.
“In parliament yesterday I asked the Minister for Transport how the government were going to support these workers, and I’m pleased to see that they are in discussions with companies who potentially can fill this space.”
The Minister for Mines said that any agreement to acquire the Cliffs operation would be complex, as it involves key stakeholders including the State, Aurizon, Arc Infrastrucutre and Southern Ports Authority.
“The Minister said that the Government would assist during this difficult process with a view to helping align these stakeholders and facilitate a commercial transaction,” Mr Rundle said.
“I hope that they also have plans to fast track key projects in the region, such as the replacement TAFE campus and the redevelopment of the Esperance Indoor Sports Stadium, which will create new job opportunities that some of these displaced workers may be able to take up.”