One-hundred-and-three Sandvik Mining employees have lost their jobs after the company began to send most of its manufacturing operations overseas.
The company blamed a downturn in the mining industry for the end to manufacturing of mining equipment at its Heatherbrae site, which resulted in the job losses.
The Heatherbrae site will remain open to provide sales, after-market and support services.
Sandvik Australia country manager Rowan Melrose said the decision to move manufacturing off shore was inevitable.
“We fully understand the impact that this decision will have on individuals, their families and the local community,” he said.
“Sandvik employees affected by this announcement will be supported through the company’s employee assistance program.”
Maitland MP Robyn Parker said news of the job losses, which came on Friday, was devastating for the Hunter region.
“The loss of one job is one too many, particularly in a region like the Hunter,” she said.
“It is disappointing that many of the region’s workers will lose their jobs as a result of the company’s decisions.
“The NSW government offered Sandvik support in the past, and it will continue to do all it can to strengthen existing businesses, attract new investment and create new jobs in the region.”
Opposition spokeswoman for the Hunter Sonia Hornery said the government should do more to encourage employment in the region, given the Hunter’s high unemployment rate.
“The Hunter manufacturing industry still faces further job losses with uncertainty about future contracts and Tony Abbott’s recent announcement that new ships will be built off shore,” she said.
“The impact to the community of job losses in the Hunter goes well beyond employment.
“These are young people with a future halted, families with one less wage earner and sadly, in some cases, no wage earner.”
Minister for the Hunter Gladys Berejiklian said the government’s major infrastructure projects would create thousands of jobs directly and indirectly.
“The Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund is also seeing major investment in upgrades to Hunter roads, expanding Newcastle Airport and other projects in the Hunter region, including Maitland,” she said.
“Of course, I’m disappointed by this news and I know it will impact many employees and their families.”