WA gold workers fight for their jobs

Western Australian gold workers have taken to the streets of Kalgoorlie to fight for the future of their industry and tell the WA Labor Government to find a better way to fix the State Budget.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy Chief Executive Officer, Reg Howard-Smith, said the rally marked the launch of an industry-wide campaign to stop the State Government’s plan to increase the gold royalty rate from 2.5 percent to 3.75 percent.

More than a thousand gold industry workers and local Kalgoorlie business people stopped work to attend the rally organised by local Liberal MLA Kyran O’Donnell.

"Our clear message to the Premier and his cabinet is Western Australian jobs must come first and an increase in the gold royalty rate and taxes will cost jobs,” Mr Howard-Smith said.

“More than 25,000 men and women work in our gold mines and many more work in industries associated with the gold sector – from drillers to geologists to truck drivers.

“These are people who make a difference for Western Australia – they pull their weight, they support their families, they pay their taxes and they deserve a fair go.”

Mr Howard-Smith said WA gold miners were aware of the economic challenges confronting the Government but the blunt instrument being used to increase the royalty rate would destroy jobs.

“The bottom line is increased royalties and taxes will cost jobs. It will result in the closure of mines, it will see a dramatic reduction in exploration and it will reduce the number of new jobs our industry can create.

 “WA jobs must come first. The gold industry will stand united in this fight to secure and create jobs for Western Australians and calls on all parties to support the gold sector in its campaign. 

“The gold industry can’t continue to create new jobs and drive our local economy if it is hit with this increased royalty rate.”

Other politicians attending the rally include Shadow Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Sean L’Estrange MLA, Federal Liberal MPs Rick Wilson and Melissa Price, Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies and MLC Jacqui Boydell and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation MLC Robin Scott.

Companies supporting their workforce to attend today’s rally included Northern Star, Newmont, KCGM, Newcrest, Saracen Mineral Resources, Gold Fields, AngloGold Ashanti Australia, Ausdrill, DDH1, Gold Fields, Silverlake Resources, Macmahon and Byrnecut amongst many others.

Marielle Azzopardi