UNCERTAIN TIMES: Dave Cooper and his employees are facing uncertainty as the government has been given 51 days to green light Stage 3 of the New Acland Mine.
UNCERTAIN TIMES: Dave Cooper and his employees are facing uncertainty as the government has been given 51 days to green light Stage 3 of the New Acland Mine. Meg Gannon

Mine approval delay will deliver 'killer blow' to town

COMMUNITY leaders have described the potential job losses at the New Acland Mine as a "killer blow" to the town.

150 jobs at the Mine hang in the balance as the government has two months to decide whether Stage 3 of the mine will receive the green light.   

Mayor Paul McVeigh said in the past few days he had received phone calls from Dalby-based businesses with concerns about the number of jobs that will be lost.   

"It is a concern for the Western Downs and especially the community of Dalby," he said.   

"These are large numbers of jobs so as a council we are very supportive of Acland Coal getting that approval to progress to that third stage."  

Despite understanding the community's frustration at the 12-year waiting time, Cr McVeigh said the Government's approval process needed to be assessed carefully.   

"At least they've done their research, and they've done that research correctly - and that does take a lot of time," he said.  

"Whilst it is a challenge, I think all the due diligence has been done and we are certainly hoping on behalf of Acland Coal that they do get the green light to proceed."  

Dalby Chamber of Commerce president Rohan May said a potential population decrease was imminent if the third stage was not given the green light.   

"Population is the silver bullet for Dalby, so for every family that leaves there's a partner that leaves, there are children that leave, which means there's less demand for schools which mean our school services suffer," he said.   

"It means less people shopping in the town, which means our small businesses suffer.  

"All-in-all it really is a killer blow for any small community to have the artificial barriers we have to Acland's stage three in place.   

"To have the decision dragged on for so long and to have so much uncertainty - it needs to proceed and it needs to proceed quickly."  

The impacts of the mass job losses would be far-reaching on the whole community, according to Mr May.   

"As the major residential centre that's closest to Acland Mine, if stage three doesn't go ahead it's going to be incredibly detrimental to the town," he said.  

"What we'll find is not only will local businesses suffer who supply to Acland, we'll see a very big population drain as those employees who reside in Dalby have to leave the region to go and find jobs elsewhere."