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Ben Schneiders
April 3, 2009

JOB losses are mounting in Australia’s mining industry with 12,500 jobs lost in the past three months, marking a stark reversal from the middle of last year.

Then employers expected to employ an extra 86,000 workers but now, due to the dramatic fall in commodity prices and the economic slowdown, mining employers are laying off staff in increasing numbers.

The reversal of fortune — contained in a Australian Mines and Metals Association’s survey — also shows that more than 55 per cent of the 134 miners and industry contractors surveyed expect to lay off staff this year.

Chief executive Steve Knott said the AMMA had recently conducted a series of meetings and the message from the industry was getting worse. “What is even more worrying is that it has become clear the position in the survey is understated and the job situation is far worse than that currently being reported,” he said.

Mr Knott said the loss of so many well-paying jobs, average salaries for the mining jobs are in excess of $100,000 a year, would have a dramatic effect on families and communities. Besides the high-profile job losses announced at BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto there has been a string of job cuts at smaller mining companies announced in recent months.

Mr Knott said the Federal Government should take the cost pressure off business through cutting taxes, red tape and deferring an emissions trading scheme. There should also be fast tracking of infrastructure projects, he said.

He said it was not enough for government simply to “allude” to global forces for the deterioration in the economy.


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