Glencore Xstrata's recent announcement that 450 workers at its Newland and Oaky Creek coal mines in the Bowen Basin would be retrenched arrived only days after US-based Peabody energy culled 450 contractors from 11 coal mines, six of which are situated west of Mackay and Rockhampton.

These two major job culls were accompanied by a swathe of smaller cuts, including the loss of 185 jobs by contractor Downer at Goonyella Riverside, owned by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi, and and the shedding of 200 workers by mining engineering firm Hasting Deering, which has workshops in Mackay and Rockhampton….