Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson this afternoon welcomed an announcement by Wollongong Coal that operations at the Wongawilli Colliery would recommence in 2016 after approvals granted by the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission but insisted that retrenched coal workers should be given preference of employment in any restart.

“I believe it’s essential that Wollongong Coal management seeks to re-employ as many of the retrenched workers as possible at the restart of operations at Wongawilli Colliery.

“Those retrenched workers stood by the company at a very difficult financial time and they should be the first workers approached to get a job back as Wollongong Coal re-starts operations.

“Up to 110 job opportunities will, according to the announcement by Wollongong Coal, will be available when Wongawilli Colliery restarts operations in 2016.

“There is no excuse for Wollongong Coal not to offer those coal workers a first preference at these new jobs.

“I remain concerned that Wollongong Coal appears to wish to employ a new contract-based workforce at Wongawilli Colliery.

“I’ll be making it clear again to Wollongong Coal management that my expectation of the company is to re-employ as many of its retrenched workforce as possible under enterprise agreement arrangements with the CFMEU, as it begins planning and discussions with key stakeholders in early 2016.

“I’ve already made it very clear to the company in a speech to State Parliament last year, and in further discussions recently with Wollongong Coal management, that unless the retrenched workers were given a first preference for new jobs at its mines in the Illawarra, they would risk losing my support”, Ms Watson said.

Wollongong Coal’s Wongawilli Colliery is located in the electorate of Shellharbour.


18 December 2015