Cobar's Endeavor cuts: Barwon MP Roy Butler calls for government support

Concern for workers: Barwon MP Roy Butler says his heart goes out to the people affected by a cut in production at Cobar's Endeavor mine. Photo: FAYE WHEELER
Concern for workers: Barwon MP Roy Butler says his heart goes out to the people affected by a cut in production at Cobar's Endeavor mine. Photo: FAYE WHEELER

Barwon MP Roy Butler is calling for the NSW government to roll out assistance for the 130 workers losing their jobs as Cobar's Endeavor mine cuts production.

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers MP said his heart went out to the people directly affected by the company's decision, announced on Wednesday.

CBH Resources said it would cut production at the zinc and lead mine to about 17,000 tonnes per month for the rest of the year.

It cited ongoing cash losses throughout 2019 as the orebody came towards the end of its current reserve.

Mr Butler noted 71 workers were being kept on "until Christmas, that's the only assurance we have so far".

He said the workers had received "a fair bit of notice" of the move, but it was a blow to them and the town.

My heart goes out to the people who have been directly affected.

Barwon MP Roy Butler

"My heart goes out to the people who have been directly affected," he said.

"If you've got two incomes both coming from that one employer and both people have lost their jobs, then that could be a particularly tough time for that family if they've got outgoings and commitments they've got to meet."

Mr Butler said he was seeking details on how many of the affected workers were based in Cobar.

"...there the ones I'm particularly worried about," he said.

"It's also the businesses on the periphery, the signwriters, the welding shops, the engineering shops.

It's also the businesses on the periphery, the signwriters, the welding shops, the engineering shops.

Mr Butler

"They've all got employees, they've all got turnover to worry about and they would have had turnover that was in some part derived from the mines. So I'm concerned about they're going to fare moving forward."

Mr Butler called for the government to step in.

"The state government has talked consistently about trying to fight for the bush and represent the bush and I think this is a good opportunity to demonstrate that," he said.

"Whether it be through some assistance in transition for those workers who won't have a role, to find other employment, and I don't want to see people leave Cobar, I really don't because I don't want to see any of our communities shrink...

"But the reality is if people need to leave Cobar to find work, they may need some assistance with finding that other work and also relocation to another location, however that looks..."

Mr Butler said it was not a good situation, on the back of persistent drought, but said the people of Cobar were "extremely resilient".

NSW Labor offers support to community

The NSW opposition has called on the Berejikjlian-Barilaro Government to fast track any infrastructure projects it has been considering, including any Resources for Regions program funding applications, to help the Cobar community recover from job cuts.

"Whatever government can do to assist communities like Cobar in times like this should be done," opposition leader Jodi McKay said.

"John Barilaro should pull out all stops to help - [now] is his time to step up."

"Regional jobs are so crucial to the local economy that government must do everything it can within its powers to assist."

Opposition spokesman for natural resources Paul Scully spoke with Mr Butler on Wednesday to offer his support and any assistance that NSW Labor could provide the Cobar community.

Mr Scully has asked the acting Premier to announce any Resource for Regions program application the local council may have applied for and get the funding flowing as quickly as possible.

Mr Scully said he hoped the banks, other financial institutions, and other businesses with customers in Cobar would be sympathetic to the circumstances of the shell-shocked local community.

Australian Community Media invited comment from the NSW government but had not received a response by deadline.