Talks first step to help Queenstown

Premier Will Hodgman and Braddon Liberal MHA Adam Brooks in Queenstown yesterday.THE government has announced the first step in navigating a way through the effects of Mount Lyell ceasing mining operations.

Premier Will Hodgman and several other Liberal MHAs travelled to Queenstown yesterday to talk with more than 100 locals at the council offices.

The scramble for action was taken after Copper Mines of Tasmania announced on Wednesday the Mount Lyell mine would remain closed, with only 15 staff kept on for maintenance.

The first meeting will be today and will include politicians and a government representative, a union representative and Mount Lyell’s general manager Scot Clyde.

They will choose several community members to join the working group.

The group’s chairman, Braddon MHA Adam Brooks, said the government wanted to hear from the community.

“What we want to know is what the community would like us to focus on,” Mr Brooks said.

Mr Brooks said there would be no easy solutions.

“It’s going to be tough.”

However, Mr Brooks said the mine could have a future.

The group will make its first report to government in three months, and a final report in six months, but locals are concerned people could leave before then.

Mr Hodgman said throwing money around would not solve the problem.

“I think it would be entirely inappropriate … to wave a blank chequebook around,” Mr Hodgman said.

The government will look at getting some projects moving faster on the West Coast, like the $750,000 package promised before the election.

Part of that package is $250,000 to help West Coasters access training for local industries, like aquaculture.

Queenstown Connect has written a project proposal for a skills training centre.

Retraining would be important, Mr Hodgman said.

He too warned there would be no quick fix.

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