Another tough week for Hunter workers as Baird and the liberals go missing

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The NSW Opposition has slammed the Baird Liberal Government for continuing to ignore the unemployment crisis in the Hunter – with more workers being laid off this week in the region’s sluggish mining and manufacturing sectors. 

Today, as many as 50 employees at Yancoal’s Abel mine are reportedly learning they have been made redundant and hundreds more face a nervous wait to confirm that their jobs have been saved. The prospect of redundancies was first announced by the company in September.

Earlier this week 15 employees were reportedly told they would be made redundant at mining support firm DYWIDAG Systems International in Bennetts Green.

Meanwhile, Jetstar has axed seven flights a week from Newcastle Airport in protest at a rise in landing fees, raising the prospect of further job losses. In June, 25 QantasLink workers were laid off.

“Any day that jobs are lost in the Hunter is a sad one – and these latest losses in mining and manufacturing confirm that the downturn goes on unabated,” Shadow Minister for the Hunter Sonia Hornery said today.

“The Liberals have abandoned the Hunter – and with it, any pretence that they have a jobs strategy or an economic plan.

“Mike Baird said he’d go door-to-door in the Hunter to win back trust back on August 19 – and he hasn’t been seen in the region since.

“All the people of the Hunter have been left with are the Baird Government’s cuts to TAFE – and massive increases in course fees at the start of 2015.

“Here in the Hunter, too many people have lost their jobs – and too many families have lost their number one breadwinner over the past year.”

ABS figures show that unemployment in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie rose from 8.1 per cent to 8.8 per cent from July to August, compared with a rate of 4.8 per cent a year ago. Unemployment across the whole Hunter region has hit 8 per cent (compared with 2.3 per cent a year ago).

Labor Candidates Tim Crakanthorp (Newcastle) and Jodie Harrison (Charlestown) said the Liberal Government was failing to come to the table and address the region’s unemployment crisis.

When manufacturing and mining are strong, the Hunter economy is strong. We want more flights being added to Newcastle Airport – not flights being taken out,” Mr Crakanthorp said.

“The latest job losses are devastating and they highlight the urgent need for a regional jobs summit.

“The Baird Government has withdrawn from the Hunter.

Key Liberal Ministers have not been seen for weeks, if not months and it is really up to them to take a leadership role.” 

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