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Middlemount Post Office couple evicted over sign

EVICTED: Chris Griffiths and Louise Hawkins have been evicted from their Middlemount PO by Anglo Coal.
EVICTED: Chris Griffiths and Louise Hawkins have been evicted from their Middlemount PO by Anglo Coal.

THE Middlemount Post Office is at the centre of a David and Goliath battle with coal giant Anglo American, leaving the town with only a skeleton postal service.

The post office's licensee, Louise Hawkins and husband Chris Griffiths struck a nerve when they placed a sign on their window drawing attention to the town's family housing crisis.

Anglo American, which owns the shopping centre, took offence and requested the sign be removed.

When Mr Griffiths refused twice, they were issued written notice to remove the sign or be evicted. The couple accepted the eviction for December 31.

Currently they are processing inbound mail and limited outbound mail but offering no other services.

The sign copied the local telephone directory featuring a child's drawing that said everyone was welcome at Middlemount.

Mr Griffiths added, "except families, except children, except visitors" prompting the breach of lease notice.

"They are limiting the number of families and children who can live here and making it hard for them," he said.

"The media is partly to blame for what's happening in small mining towns…no one is prepared to ask the hard questions and they get away with it."

Mr Griffiths, who has lived in the area since 1971 and served his apprenticeship at Utah Mine said he was pro mining.

"But I'm pro Middlemount as well and pro Dysart and Tieri, and pro agriculture.

"I listen to all those people talk about their situations but no one will say anything.

"They all want to protect their jobs. This is a closed town. Everything depends on Anglo and how they want to do things."

In a statement, Anglo American said they were workingwith the Isaac Regional Council to restore full postal services. The company confirmed the Australia Post lessee was told to vacate the Anglo American owned complex for failing to comply with their lease agreement.

"Anglo American made numerous attempts to come to a resolution. We have now exhausted all avenues," a spokesman said.

Topics:  anglo american editors picks housing middlemount mining post office



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