Blackwater Newsagent Jodie Lane.
Blackwater Newsagent Jodie Lane. Allan Reinikka ROK020917ablackwa

Mines putting the pressure on small businesses out west

JODIE Lane and James Oliffe know times can be tough when it comes to business in Blackwater but say it's the community spirit which keeps them going.

The pair who own the local newsagency, have noticed a decline in residents.

The flow on effect has seen their staff go from 25 down to three which Jodie put down to the casualisation of a workforce.

"Community morale is there but business is not so good, it's hard to be a business owner here," she said.

"We do see a lot of railway workers and mine workers, all different people but there is just not as much foot traffic."

Jodie said when she first started they would open at 4am in the morning and work until 7pm at night, with at least two to three girls every shift.

Now there's one person per shift.

READ | The CQ mining town fighting hard to stay afloat

"People aren't happy to spend their money, they need to save it. They don't want to spend money that they may not have next week," Jodie said.

"Our local mines and things certainly don't make it easy, with the whole drive in drive out situation.

"It's gotten worse with the drive in drive out. The coast is obviously quiet accessible to people and unfortunately small towns aren't what they used to be."

Jodie said even over the last five years rent and house prices have noticeably dropped in price.

"When I moved to town the house we rented was $1000 a week, now it's rented at $190 a week. It was just sheer greed and supply and demand," she said.

"Now the same homes that were fetching $1500 a week and were up for sale for $700,000 have just been sold off for $110,000."

Jodie and James agreed that high rent was essentially what drove business out of town.

"I can rent a premises in the main street of Brisbane cheaper than I can rent here (in Blackwater) per square metre," James said.

"Once a business leaves Blackwater you'll never get it back.

"We're slowly losing all of our positive aspects."



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