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Eraring: Coal mining jobs at Myuna and Mandalong under threat

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While welcoming the Eraring Power Station extension, the Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association (CSOA) would like job security for 1,000 coal mining families in the region.

A deal between the NSW Government and Origin Energy this week will prolong the Lake Macquarie site’s life until 19 August 2027, amid concerns about shortfalls in the energy grid.

Although the decision is expected to provide some refuge for the local workforce, it’s a different story for miners just down the road at Myuna and Mandalong.

Their jobs could be in danger at the end of June, according to the CSOA.

The union has launched a campaign, Remember Your Origin, calling on state and federal MPs – Sonia Hornery (Wallsend), Jodie Harrison (Charlestown), Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie), Jenny Aitchison (Maitland), Clayton Barr (Cessnock), Kate Washington (Port Stephens), Tim Crakanthorp (Newcastle – NSW), Dan Repacholi (Hunter), Sharon Claydon (Newcastle – Aust), Pat Conroy (Shortland) and Meryl Swanson (Paterson) – to save those coal employees and their surrounding communities.

“The decision to extend the life of Eraring is a positive first step,” CSOA lead organiser Belinda Giblin said.

“But, it provides little relief for 1,000 workers and their families, whose jobs are still under threat.

“The rubber now hits the road for Origin Energy.

“It has delivered certainty for Eraring power station workers.

“There is now no excuse not to provide immediate certainty for Myuna and Mandalong coal miners.

“If no deal is reached by the end of June, 350 jobs will immediately go at Myuna and 650 more at Mandalong will be under immediate peril.

“We urge the NSW Government and Origin Energy to provide relief to these 1,000 workers and their families before it’s too late.”

Coal mining staff admitted the economic impact on workers and their loved ones would be severe, with many forced to sell or move interstate if the mines close down.

Adam Cowen, who has worked at the Myuna for 17 years, is one such employee.

“If the mine shuts down, it’s me moving out of the area, taking fly-in-fly-out work, or relocating,” he said.

“I’ve just had a grandson – so I miss out on seeing a lot of that.

“I have to think about whether to keep my house or put it on the market, so I don’t have to deal with a mortgage.

“It’d pretty much force me to sell.”

Ms Giblin said handling the Myuna and Mandalong contracts was a major test of business and government commitment to a “just transition” for coal mining communities.

“If both are forced to close, putting 1,000 miners out of work with no redeployment, retraining or compensation support in place, it’s fair to say that the commitments of Origin Energy and the NSW Government to a ‘just transition’ aren’t worth the paper they’re written on,” she added.

“The employees, their families and the Hunter community need both parties to step up and provide certainty for their future.

“With the end of June deadline rapidly approaching, we urgently need action.”

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