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  • Future looks grim for NW forestry contractor

    2018 - 07.03

    Collins Contracting owners Irene and Rodney Collins say their business is being hampered due to not having access to government funding.
    Nanjing Night Net

    A SMITHTON forestry and mining contractor, not eligible for government funding through the contractors assistance program, is at risk of closing its doors.

    Collins Contracting employs 30 full-time and casual workers, which are spread across the country.

    Owner Rodney Collins said his operation was being severely hampered due to not being eligible for funding from the government.

    He said his business, which specialises in building roads in native forests, struggled to compete with other companies that had access to the contractors assistance program.

    “We have been told we aren’t able to get funding through the contractors assistance program and the government has come back and said we can apply for additional funding, which will be capped at $20,000,” Mr Collins said.

    “That [capped funding] won’t be able to do anything.

    “We employ locals and have worked in Queensland and now more recently in Melbourne to keep them in a job, but things are getting serious now.”

    Collins Contracting had been contracted to work at the Shree Minerals site at Nelson Bay before production was halted due to a falling iron-ore price and environmental issues.

    Labor leader Bryan Green pointed the finger squarely at Resources Minister Paul Harriss.

    “The owner of Collins Contracting in Smithton has contacted me desperate to save the jobs of his 30 workers,” Mr Green said.

    “This is a local business doing it tough in a community that relies heavily on forestry and mining jobs.

    “Resources Minister Paul Harriss and Adam Brooks are well aware of the contractor’s dilemma but have done nothing. They haven’t even told the premier.”

    Mr Harriss said Collins Contracting had made numerous calls to the government during the past five years.

    “The problems experienced by Collins Contracting are a direct result of the collapse of the forest industry under Labor and the Greens and the attack on the North-West mining industry by radical environmentalists,” Mr Harriss said.

    “Collins Contracting made a number of applications for assistance under the previous government while Mr Green was the responsible minister – once in 2011 and twice in 2013 – without getting any help whatsoever.

    “On February 7, 2014, Mr Collins gave up on Bryan Green and wrote directly to the then premier – but didn’t even get the courtesy of a response.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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