Government must accelerate response to Alinta closure

The Weatherill Labor Government has no choice but to bring forward job creation policies, following Alinta’s announcement that the Leigh Creek coal mine will close next month.

Alinta has today announced that operational mining will cease at Leigh Creek on 17 November this year and the Port Augusta power stations will cease generation around 31 March 2016.

“Our thoughts today are with the Leigh Creek community. The coming months will be a very difficult time for them,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“It’s now time for the Weatherill Labor Government to step up to the plate after so far failing to come up with a plan to transition workers despite the planned closure being flagged four months ago. 

“For a start, Premier Jay Weatherill must take over responsibility for the State Government’s response to the closure of Alinta Energy from junior Minister Kyam Maher. 

“Minister Maher is out of his depth in handling the Government’s response and reducing the impact of Alinta’s closure on the local communities.” 

The Weatherill Labor Government must also immediately:

 

  • Bring forward planned Stamp Duty relief to take effect this year;

  • Commit to reducing Payroll Tax;

  • Slash Emergency Services Levy bills by reversing the $90 million ESL hike announced in the 2014-15 State Budget;

  • Push ahead with job creating infrastructure such as the Strzelecki Track upgrade; and,

  • Create a state-based Productivity Commission.        

“We know Alinta’s closure will have a negative flow-on impact for other jobs in the region,” said Mr Marshall.

“Today’s announcement follows news from Arrium that it will cut $100 million from the Whyalla steelworks over the next two years.

“South Australia needs jobs creation now, not in a few years like the Weatherill Labor Government is talking about.

“The Weatherill Labor Government can no longer ignore our State’s regions.

“It is imperative that the Government appreciates the gravity of the situation facing Port Augusta and Leigh Creek residents and makes the development of a response to these devastating job losses its number one priority.

“The Weatherill Government cannot afford to be asleep at the wheel as a major employer in South Australia implements plans to shed a significant number of jobs.”