THE Tasmanian Government has implemented a plan to help more than 350 people facing job losses as two of the state’s major mines cease production.
With Unity Mining’s Henty gold mine to be put on care and maintenance by 2015, and Copper Mines of Tasmania’s Mount Lyell shutting down for at least 18 months following three fatalities early this year, Premier Will Hodgman has set up a working group to provide support to businesses, workers, families and the community.

“We have worked quickly and appropriately to establish a West Coast Economic Working Group, which will provide immediate support during these challenging times,” Mr Hodgman said.
“Today the Resources minister Paul Harriss, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Trade Adam Brooks and Liberal Member for Braddon Joan Rylah
and I met with Copper Mines of Tasmania [CMT] and its workers who are affected by this terrible news.

“This has strengthened our resolve to continue to work with CMT and its workers to ensure they have every support necessary at this very difficult time.
“The West Coast Economic Working Group will drive a coordinated response over the tough months ahead for the Wes Coast community.”

The working group aims to create a central point for community input, while assisting workers with skills training and new employment. It will actively seek new
investments to grow jobs in the immediate, medium and long-term; fast-track existing and potential infrastructure and capital expenditure projects; provide financial and social support services; and work with CMT to assist ongoing exploration programs.

Mr Hodgman told locals in Queenstown that his government would play its part in helping opportunities become realities.
“There are no magic bullets or instant solutions but what we want to know is what the community would like us to on…not just look at the short-term needs of services from government, but really what can we do to help build the economy on the west coast and Queenstown,” he said.

The group had its first meeting on 11 July and gathered ideas, suggestions and opportunities from the community to assist the short, medium and long term requirements of the West Coast.