Change District


Northern Mining & NSW Energy

NSW South Western




Western Australia


Good riddance BHP – coal mine sale a great result for permanent jobs

October 18, 2023

The sale of BHP’s Daunia and Blackwater coal mines in Central Queensland to Whitehaven paves the way for hundreds of workers to transition from labour hire to permanent jobs.

Whitehaven has assured the Mining and Energy Union that workers at the mines will remain covered by existing Enterprise Agreements and that all workers employed through BHP’s labour hire subsidiary Operations Services will be offered permanency on site EA conditions.

There are about 400 BHP Operations Services workers at Daunia and Blackwater out of a total workforce of approximately 2,500 permanent, contract and labour hire coal mineworkers.

MEU Acting Queensland District President Mitch Hughes welcomed Whitehaven’s commitment to ending BHP’s sham in-house labour hire model.

“We are delighted that Whitehaven has seen the nonsense of the Operations Services model and committed to ending it,” said Mr Hughes.

“Nearly four hundred OS workers and their families will be celebrating this news and can look forward to a substantial improvement to their pay and conditions. Meanwhile, the permanently employed workforce can rest assured that their existing pay and conditions will be retained. We will also be seeking permanent, secure jobs for other labour hire workers at the site.

“We are not surprised that Whitehaven has seen value in operating these great Queensland assets while still paying workers fairly.

“Blackwater and Daunia produce quality metallurgical coal that is in strong demand. Whether it’s work laws or royalties, BHP is constantly threatening to pack up and leave if they don’t get their own way. Well, they can go right ahead. If BHP doesn’t want to mine Queensland coal, there are others ready and waiting.

“BHP’s ruthless drive over many years to cut direct, permanent jobs and replace them with casual labour hire has caused real reputational damage to a company that was once an Australian icon.

“We look forward to continuing to represent the interests of coal mineworkers at Daunia and Blackwater mines while we continue fighting for fairer work laws to close the labour hire loophole pioneered by BHP.”

Back to News