Mount Isa is unique among mining towns around the world.
There is a tremendous loyalty and sense of pride reaching right across the community.
I recall arriving in the City in 1964 just prior to the very damaging industrial dispute which lasted over six months and devastated the community where we witnessed father against son, mother against daughter and neighbour against neighbour.
When the dispute ended there was a massive coming together of both sides. Mount Isa Mines Mmnagement realised that they could not afford further industrial disputation as did the Trade Union movement.
We were assisted by the newly established newspaper The North West Star under the ownership of the late Sir Asher Joel who some years later commenced a commercial television service in the City, ITQ 8 who between them did so much to create Uunity in the City and promote everything that was good about Mount isa and the North West.
I recall some years after the dispute was settled we had a lunch function at the Irish Club with the guest of honour that great architect of Industrial Relations a man renowned for bringing people together and a former Prime Minister Bob Hawke. He addressed a capacity audience saying Mount Isa was one of the greatest examples of Industrial Harmony, not just in Australia but indeed around the world. Praise indeed.
After the dispute was settled Mount Isa Mines leadership in consultation with the Trade Union leadership embarked on a program of assisting their employees to purchase a home in the City thereby establishing a stake in the City.
The Queensland Country Credit Union was establish as was the Mount Isa Health Society and there was a stipulation that there had to be Trade Union representation on the Boards of both organisations.
The other area of community engagement was the establishment of the Laura Johnstone Home which again Mount Isa Mines and the Union movement was most active in its establishment and continued financing.
It provided a facility where our senior citizens could live in secure and homely surroundings close to their family and friends.
In the years after the dispute we seen some excellent leaders from both sides. From Mount Isa Mines we had Bruce Watson, Tony White, Barry Sullivan and more recently Matt O'Neill
And from the Union side we had Alex Pavusa, Joe Doherty, Lyn Byrnes, Frank Fox, Dave Harris, Roy Harris, Hag Harrison and more recently Gavin Lawrence.
This excellent team-work has certainly paid off in a very handsome way and the custom and Practice was that local politicians stayed out of the Industrial arena and left it to those who understood the issues.
Hence my concern when I recently heard and read the State Member Robbie Katter who has no experience in the field of Industrial Relations joining the debate about the proposed structural changes at Mount Isa Mines, Changes designed at securing the life of the mine for many years to come and surely after 100 years of operations every company should examine its method of operations to ensure the future of the operation.
As was demonstrated all those years ago Industrial Relations is far too important for amateurs to involve themselves in. By all means take an interest, make yourself familiar with the issues.
But don't use the media to put the fear of God into the hard working workforce and their families
We all know that comments about "job losses" will get a headline in the media but it creates unnecessary anxiety and concern in our Community. Let me assure Mr Katter that our people expect better from our elected representatives but with an election just months away maybe its just too much to expect.