MINE LOCK OUT

Com­mu­nity backs the good fight as mine lock out goes on

Central Queensland News - - FRONT PAGE - Kris­ten Booth Kris­ten.Booth@cqnews.com.au

CHRISTMAS is just around the corner and lo­cal min­ing com­mu­ni­ties are show­ing true com­mu­nity spirit as they join to­gether to sup­port the fam­i­lies af­fected by the Oaky North mine lock­out.

Glen­core locked the work­ers out in re­sponse to an ini­tial strike by the em­ploy­ees in May in dis­agree­ment over de­tails of a new En­ter­prise Agree­ment, which is yet to be fi­nalised.

Work­ers have been ad­vised that the lock­out will con­tinue un­til Jan­uary 3, more than 200 days out of work at the Tieri mine.

Com­mu­nity Del­e­gate for the CFMEU Peak Downs Lodge, Jo Scullin, said to ease the bur­den on th­ese fam­i­lies at this time of year, she is en­cour­ag­ing the com­mu­nity to jump on board with a drive to col­lect Christmas gifts for kids to be de­liv­ered out to the peo­ple in­volved in the lock­out.

“Fam­i­lies are ral­ly­ing to­gether and do­ing as well as can be ex­pected,” Ms Scullin said. “A lot of peo­ple don’t want to ask for help, it’s just not in their na­ture”.

Most work­ers at Oaky North are males and Ms Scullin said that this type of sit­u­a­tion could re­ally take a toll on them, es­pe­cially com­ing up to Christmas.

“One of my pas­sions about liv­ing out in a min­ing com­mu­nity is men­tal health aware­ness,” she said.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t seem to be able to talk about their con­cerns, es­pe­cially males.”

The Christmas present ini­tia­tive is be­ing held so af­fected fam­i­lies didn’t need to ask for help and to show the com­mu­nity sup­port was be­hind them.

Ms Scullin said com­mu­nity spirit was amaz­ing, es­pe­cially around Christmas.

“Ev­ery­one is help­ing out, and even when some­times money may be tight for them­selves, fam­i­lies are still will­ing to give to other peo­ple,” she said.

“We do have such an amaz­ing com­mu­nity.

“We have even had some peo­ple that have moved away to as far as Western Aus­tralia to ar­range the do­na­tion of a gift over the phone with Mo­ran­bah Toy­world.”

The com­mu­nity is be­ing en­cour­aged to buy any kind of present that the chil­dren could call their own.

Ms Scullin sug­gests any­thing from body spray and lip balm to hand balls and fris­bees.

“Any­one is wel­come to be in­volved,” she said.

“You can choose a present for any child and drop it into the CFMEU Of­fice on Mills Av­enue in Mo­ran­bah.

“It can be wrapped and de­liv­ered for you or you can wrap it your­self with a la­bel show­ing the age and sex of the child it will suit, or just la­bel the present with the name of the item.

“For those who want to con­trib­ute, Mo­ran­bah Toy­world can also take phone or­ders and pay­ments for as lit­tle as $5. Toy­world staff will wrap your present and de­liver it to the CFMEU of­fice for col­lec­tion.”

Presents must be handed in to the CFMEU of­fice by 4pm on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 15.

“I am go­ing to take them straight to the picket line and in­vite the kids and fam­i­lies, and hope­fully Santa will be com­ing with me,” Ms Scullin said.

More than 250 chil­dren are on the list to re­ceive presents this Christmas and, if the do­na­tions go over and be­yond this num­ber, presents will be do­nated to Ronald McDon­ald House.

“We all want to stick to­gether and fight the good fight for our kids and ev­ery­one who lives in the com­mu­ni­ties,” Ms Scullin said. “We want a fu­ture in min­ing for them be­cause that’s pre­dom­i­nantly what we’re all here for.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

SPIRIT OF GIV­ING: Sec­re­tary of CFMEU Peak Downs Lodge, Scott Leggett, with do­nated presents.

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