State may buy back Ravensthorpe houses

Premier Colin Barnett has reportedly indicated the government could buy back some houses in the Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun areas following BHP Billiton's decision yesterday to close its nickel operation.


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First BHP takes our workers, they put wages pressure on our business because we need to 'compete' with them for workers. The workers enjoyed high and some very high incomes, normally high income of any sort requires sacrifice and risk. Now the goverment is talking about using our tax payer dollars to 'bail' out BHP from its responsibilities, and also the workers who have earned these big wages. How does that add up? Jim

Seems that BHP made the financial decision to open a risky project, made massive promises to the shire and Government to get it up and then brought all the workers to the local area - surely they are culpable first? How many others will taxpayers have to bail out in the future when big mines close? What if the Boddington gold mine goes under? What about the mines closing around Kalgoorlie and Kambalda? Half the northern suburbs of Perth are FIFO workers who will struggle to pay mortgages in this recession - should we bail them out too? BHP is culpable for their financial decisions and should look after the workers who came late when the company knew things were going south, and they should look at the broken promises to the local Shires. Those who have been reaping the benefits of the boom for a long time might just have to deal with the situation - of course with the usual safety nets provided by social security, or hopefully finding a new job. I really feel for them and their families, and I guess the Government should do what they can for those in the most trouble, but ultimately going into a recession isn't that money going to be needed all over the state? If we are going to spend lots of money it should be on jobs in diversifying the economy - such as building renewable energy infrastructure or rehabilitating and diversifing the wheatbelt/rangelands for higher productivity in agriculture. The Government could employ more locals to help manage the Fitzgerald Biosphere and Ravensthorpe Range for conservation or fighting dieback, and create science jobs studying the area. They could fund more research into diversified agriculture in the area. At least the money would be usefully spent. The mining industry will always be boom and bust.

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