Our ‘local’jobs in jeopardy

DAMON Hooker loves living and working in Singleton.

It was his plan to live and work in Singleton until he retired – and it’s a goal he really hopes will reach its fruition.

CONCERNED: Singleton’s Damon Hooker is worried about his job, and those of others, if the Warkworth and Mt Thorley projects don’t get approved.

But, the one big uncertainty over his plan is the future of his workplace, Warkworth mine, where Mr Hooker is employed as a shot-firer.

He has worked at MTW for three years, having also worked at Ravensworth and Mt Arthur mines.

He resides in town with his wife and two young children.

“I absolutely love the place – you wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” he told The Argus.

“It’s a great place to raise a family and has so much to offer but we need jobs – local jobs and that’s what’s in

jeopardy if the Warkworth and Mt Thorley projects don’t get approved.

“If I lose my job because the project is knocked back, I will either have to work away from my family or relocate myself and family to find another mining job.

“And, that is the last thing I want to do.”

Mr Hooker said he wassympathetic to the concerns of the Bulga residents but he believed the mine’s owner was and would continue to do everything in its power tominimise the impacts.

Also extremely keen to see the projects get the green light is Warkworth grader operator and Cessnock district resident Melinda Windle.

A former fly-in-fly-outworker in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, Ms Windle, who has a great hatred of flying, said she did not want to go back to that lifestyle.

“The uncertainty is taking its toll on all of the employee because many, including myself, just wonder where they will find work if the mine ceases production,” she said.

“Living and working locally is just wonderful.”

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