Council calls on government support for Caterpillar employees

Burnie City Council has called on the State and Federal Governments to consider funding projects to create short to medium term employment opportunities for Caterpillar workers

Mayor Anita Dow said “We do not want to lose any of the highly skilled people we have in our region, therefore it is imperative that all short to medium term employment opportunities are explored.

“There will be advanced manufacturing jobs available on the coast, and hopefully the work that is being done to secure new markets and sure up supply into the Thailand plant will be productive. But, there may be a significant lag time before this eventuates so we need to be creating interim employment opportunities, in partnership with State and Federal Government, now.

“Council has already identified some great, practical projects which could be undertaken in the community including the commencement of the Coastal Pathway west of Burnie, as well as a pathway to and through Fernglade. Council also recognises that not all affected workers live in the Burnie area. That is why we also want to see funding for the further development of a world class mountain bike track in the Dial Range.

“It is also vital that there is a long term and well-resourced plan for creating sustainable economic development in the region. Advanced manufacturing will always be an important part of our region’s economy, but we must diversify so that we are no longer reliant on one industry or business.

“The funding of the expansion of UTAS at West Park would be a welcome initiative which would provide economic stimulus while also investing in education and innovation in business and industry in to the future. The full roll out of the NBN in both Burnie and Devonport with Fibre to the Premises would also encourage new business to the area, and ensure that our regional cities do not become back waters in the future growth of the ICT sector. The funding of a mooring dolphin at the Burnie Port would also strengthen the regions tourism industry.

Council also called on the State Government to provide as much assistance as possible through the new Coordinator-General position to support the opening of the recently announced iron ore mine at Hampshire, and to support the activities of the Dale Elphinstone group of companies.

Mayor Dow said, “Given the State Government’s stated objectives of using this role to expedite projects of this nature, these could be used as discrete pilot projects to demonstrate the value of the role.  This would give confidence to future investors in pursuing opportunities in the State.”

“Council is seeking a dedicated Regional Economic Development Officer to work with the Coordinator-General out of a Burnie Office.  This position could work with industry and the community to expedite these two activities, and be on the ground looking for and developing other opportunities that will generate economic activity in the short and long term.”

“We know the Caterpillar transition is going to happen, so it is up to all levels of government to get out on the front foot and start creating these opportunities right now."

For further information please contact

Janine Phillips
Communications Officer
Burnie City Council
03 6430 5716 or 0448 568 728