Family jobs in doubt as gold royalty hike looms

Goldfields miner fears 50 per cent gold royalty rate increase will impact local communities and cost jobs.

Kalgoorlie local Richard Fulker had just started to feel optimistic about the gold industry when the Labor Government announced a 50 per cent increase in the royalty rate.

The 51-year-old underground grader operator for Northern Star Resources fears his family and local community will be hit hard as gold companies will be forced to cut costs by reducing exploration.

“Once exploration is reduced you know it will be harder to keep your job next year, and then harder again the year after,” Mr Fulker said.

The rate hike couldn’t come at a worse time for the mining industry veteran’s family, with his two sons setting their sights on becoming apprentice fitters in the gold industry.

“My boys want to follow in my footsteps and work in the industry I’ve spent 26 years of my life in,” he said.

“Now this hit to the industry makes it look like there aren’t going to be any jobs for them. What are they going to do?”

Mr Fulker said gold sector workers were the lifeblood of many country communities including Kalgoorlie.  His family is involved in the local motor cross and swimming clubs and active participants in many aspects of community life.

“The local junior sporting clubs can’t run without volunteers,” he said.

“Mining parents make up a big part of the population. When mining and exploration reduce, our community suffers.”

Western Australian gold producers make a critical contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of the state. Each year the sector spends more than $4.4 billion on wages and salaries, business purchases, community contributions and local government payments.

Gold companies also pay more than $290 million to the State Government in royalties and taxes and a further $245 million to the Federal Government.