Wollongong Coal Announcement: Abbott Government Must Take Action


Today’s news that Wollongong Coal will suspend mining operations at Russell Vale resulting in the loss of 80 jobs is devastating for the region. 


“This will be a huge blow for the workers employed up at Russell Vale – they have had a very tough run over the past couple of years and they have worked hard to keep the mine going.  This is devastating news for these local families,” Sharon Bird said.


Sharon Bird today called on the Abbott Government to immediately reinstate the Illawarra Local Employment Coordinator (LEC) and locate an entrepreneur adviser in the region.


“There has been a number of big employers in the Illawarra laying off staff over the past few months – Illawarra Coal (30 jobs), Peabody Mining (90 jobs), AHM (20 jobs), Fairfax (50 jobs) and now Wollongong Coal (80 jobs).  This is on top of the BlueScope announcement last week indicating the loss of up to 500 jobs.


“In August, the Abbott Government announced that Geelong received a $14 million Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, $500,000 towards establishing a P-TECH model at Newcomb Secondary College and commitments to establish a new Job Connections Office, Geelong Region Future Jobs Taskforce and an extension of the Geelong Employment Facilitator. 


“We have seen jobs go left, right and centre down here and the Abbott Government has failed to step in and help by at least reinstating the Illawarra Local Employment Coordinator and locating an entrepreneur adviser in the region to help local businesses improve their competitiveness. 

“Why should Wollongong retrenched workers miss out?


The Abbott Government abolished the Illawarra LEC position in June 2014.  LEC’s worked with local employers, community groups and all levels of government to help increase local jobs and assist retrenched workers and other job seekers.


The Illawarra LEC formed a Rapid Response team to support retrenched workers from Poppets, King Gee, Bonds, BlueScope and other manufacturing companies in the Illawarra back in 2009. 


“The Abbott Government must reinstate the Illawarra Local Employment Coordinator as a matter of urgency to help retrenched local workers into further education, training and securing new jobs.


“Losing your job is extremely tough – the Abbott Government must step in and help to make the transition easier for local workers.”