Small Australian mining towns struggle in declining economy

World Today

Australia’s economy is adjusting to the end of a big mining boom and many small mining towns are struggling. CCTV’s Greg Navarro reported this story from Muswellbrook, Australia.

The town just north of Sydney in Hunter Valley and is home to 12,000 people surrounded by a scarred landscape.

Small Australian mining towns struggle in declining economy

Australia's economy is adjusting to the end of a big mining boom and many small mining towns are struggling. CCTV’s Greg Navarro reported this story from Muswellbrook, Australia.

Once viewed as a symbol of mining’s prosperity, it now serves as a reminder of the industry’s fall.

“The contractors have left the area, we aren’t getting as many vehicles coming through our doors,” Sarah Southcombe, office manager of a vehicle repair shop which relies heavily on business from the coal industry said.

While mining trucks continue to roll just across the road, falling commodity prices and weaker demand have forced the mines to cut back and lay off hundreds of workers.

“We’ve had to terminate some employees, we’ve had to cut back, make employees take annual leave when they don’t want to take annual leave, just to get through the rough period,” Southcombe said.

With fewer dollars coming into Muswellbrook’s economy, businesses from restaurants to real estate are struggling.

“We’ve seen real estate momentum really drop off the radar. We’ve got a fair bit of rental vacancies in the moment,” Realtor Tony Mctaggart said.

The Australian economy has been buoyed somewhat by a thriving housing market, but mining communities are unable to distance themselves from the ailing industry.

“There are a lot of people out there hurting at the moment. They’re not sure if they are going to have a job from day to day,” Southcombe said.