Community survey: if New Acland mine were to close
Approximately 61 New Acland mine worker families would be forced to leave the region if Stage 3 of the mine doesn’t proceed according to a recently conducted community impact survey.
The survey, developed and conducted by spouses and partners of New Acland mine employees, sought to investigate and quantify the social and economic impact the mine’s closure would have on the local community.
The survey found the closure of New Acland would not only have a devastating financial impact on New Acland worker families, but also enrolments at the region’s schools and a dramatic reduction in the amount of money spent at local businesses. Of the almost 200 respondents 85 per cent indicated their total family income came from employment at the mine. Significantly, the survey also found that the loss of this income would have a serious flow on effect throughout the community with 47 per cent saying they would be forced to move from the Toowoomba region.
The majority of respondents to the survey were New Acland employees and, of those, 86 per cent currently live within 40km of the mine site. This would mean not only an exodus of many workers but also 307 dependent children.
Schools, both primary and secondary, would feel the impact of this with 55 per cent of respondents reporting they have children at the region’s schools. Of those families that indicated they would remain in the area, many would have to consider FIFO work in other regions, putting further stress on their families.
Farming in the region would also take a significant hit with many of the responders identifying as long-time residents, living on family owned properties. Many are only able to maintain the farm due to income they receive from the New Acland mine. The survey results also make for grim reading for local businesses with spending likely
to be severely curbed should New Acland close.
If Stage 3 of the mine was approved, almost 90 per cent of respondents said they would purchase a new car within the next five years and 60 per cent indicated they would invest in property. This number falls to less than 10 percent should Stage 3 not be approved, and the mine forced to close.
Families would also significantly reduce the amount they spend on eating out according to the survey. While 60 per cent of respondents currently eat out on a weekly basis this would drop to 10 per cent should Stage 3 not be approved. From the information gathered by the survey, it is clear that the economic and social impact of the New Acland’s closure on the greater Toowoomba region will be felt by many – including those that are indirectly affected by the mine’s business.
The survey was conducted over eight weeks between July and September 2017 and attracted 196 responses.