It is unfortunate that the fate of Hydro’s Kurri Kurri aluminium workers has become embroiled in political argy bargy over the carbon tax.
The loss of 300 jobs out of the local economy will cause widespread hurt.
As one of the workers told this newspaper yesterday: “It’s devastating for the area ... it’s not just 300 jobs it’s a lot more when you consider we’re buying fuel, pies and milkshakes here.”
Just how serious that knock-on effect will be is not yet known; some people, however, are saying that for every one job lost, a further three will feel the impact.
But the worst possible scenario would be for the Hydro workers to leave the area in search of employment elsewhere.
They take their children with them, class sizes fall, teachers are lost ... so on and so on.
Outspoken Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce claimed the job losses were “... casualities of Labor’s manic quest to cool the planet.”
The reality, however, is that there are a number of
contributing factors to Hydro’s collapse.
Aluminium prices peaked at $3300 per tonne, but are now approximately $2000, resulting in the closure of less competitive aluminium smelters all around the world – not only in “carbon tax land”.
Regardless of who, or what, is responsible, this has been a black day for the Hunter’s economy.
It is imperative that all avenues of assistance are made available to these workers and their families.