Gold workers to rally at Parliament

Gold sector workers will rally at Parliament House next week, sending a clear message to their local politicians to put jobs first.
 
Men and women employed by mine operators, explorers, drillers and contractors will gather at 9am next Tuesday when Parliament resumes, to express their concern at the WA Labor Government’s decision to increase the gold royalty rate by 50 per cent and put up to 3,000 local jobs at risk.
 
Graeme Wallis, whose family has run Wallis Drilling for 50 years and employs 250 workers and dozens of apprentices, has described the gold royalty hike as “bloody crazy”.
 
Mr Wallis has implored his local politician, the Member for Midland, the Hon. Michelle Roberts, to step in and protect jobs.
 
“This royalty increase will force us to take money out of the industry. It’s bloody crazy,” he said.
 
“Are they going to apologise to the apprentices we are not going to employ? And by the way, we don’t hire people out of universities, we hire labourers.”
 
Chamber of Minerals and Energy CEO Reg Howard-Smith said 2,000 concerned gold sector workers took to the streets of Kalgoorlie last month to express fear for their jobs.
 
“I expect a big showing on the steps of Parliament House on Tuesday because the job losses won’t just be in regional areas but across the Perth metro area,” Mr Howard-Smith said.
 
“As gold sector workers have made clear over the past month, the impact of this 50 per cent royalty hike is going to be major and widespread – in addition to jobs on mine sites, the ripple effect will be substantial. The WA gold sector directly supports more than 3,500 local businesses, and a majority of those are based in the Perth area.”
 
The CME has invited Premier Mark McGowan and Opposition leader Mike Nahan to address the rally.