BHP has announced today it will shed 163 more mining jobs in the Hunter.

While not a surprise, it is devastating news for the workers involved and their families and our thoughts are with them.

Coal prices have more than halved in the past eighteen months and along with the strong Australian Dollar, it’s having a big impact on mining profitability.  Sadly, things are likely to grow worse before they get better.

That’s why at this time we need to be supporting the industry.  I reject the calls of those who would impose more constraints on it or worse, would have it closed.

Those same people say we need a more diverse economy and greater diversity is, and should always be, one of our primary goals.

However, our economy is already quite diverse.  Our biggest employers after health and social assistance are retail trade, manufacturing, accommodation, food and other tourism services, education and construction.

At 5.7%, mining is critically important but so too are power generation, transport services, wholesale sales, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, viticulture and thoroughbred breeding.

But it is mining that puts the icing on our economic cake – bringing, investment, wealth and strong wages to our region.   We need to remember that!

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