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Wednesday, 10 November 1976


Mr GROOM (Braddon) -I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:

That this House notes with regret the decision of the Mount Lyell Railway and Mining Co. Ltd to reduce production of copper concentrate at its Queenstown mines, and to close down the 'Crown' mines, the 'Lower West' mine and the 'Royal Tharsis' mine, and to retrench in 3 stages during December- January next 400 of the total work force of 1050 men and women.

Accordingly, this House resolves that because the towns of Queenstown and Gormanston are totally dependent on Mount Lyell for employment and the town of Strahan is substantially so dependent, and because these towns being situated on the remote and rugged West Coast of Tasmania have no rural industry and no alternative industrial employment, a critical situation has arisen and it is imperative that urgent discussions be held involving the Commonwealth Government, the State Government and the company on the following matters:

1.   The immediate as well as long term future of Mount Lyell.

2.   The nature of Government aid, if any, sought by the company in recent months.

3.   Whether or not a copper bounty ensuring that the company receives a sufficient price for its copper concentrate to maintain a break-even position is feasible and appropriate in all the circumstances.

4.   Whether the State Government can immediately relieve the company of payment of payroll tax for a moratorium period of 12 months.

5.   Whether the Tasmanian freight equalisation scheme can be extended to include copper concentrates shipped interstate in bulk by Mount Lyell.

And therefore, whilst realising the critical problems facing the company and its employees are caused by a prolonged period of low world copper prices and rapid escalation in production costs and State charges in recent years, this House urges prompt and effective action to be taken forthwith to avoid the immense social and human suffering which will occur to the people of the West Coast of Tasmania as a result of the proposed retrenchments.







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