EVERYTHING and nothing has changed in the 12 months after Leigh Creek’s economic lifeblood closed.
Thursday marks the one-year anniversary since Alinta Energy workers clocked off for the final time at the town’s coal mine — an event that led to South Australia losing security over its own power supply when the Port Augusta stations fuelled by the coal switched off six months later.
Last November, uncertainty of what the future held for the town — Alinta employees, their families and the dozen or so local businesses reliant upon their custom — dominated discussion.
Today, the uncertainty remains.
“It’s like we’re in limbo,” post office manager, mum of three and lifetime resident Kirsty Nicholls explained.
“We know Alinta is leaving, but the State Government hasn’t taken control yet and no-one really knows what’s going to happen when they do.”
Since the closure, Leigh Creek — west of the northern Flinders Ranges and 550km north of Adelaide — has experienced a population decline from 500 to 170. Another 30-40 people are expected to leave post-Christmas in search of opportunities elsewhere.
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Griffiths, L. (2016). Leigh Creek is a town in transition and limbo - a year after Alinta Energy workers clocked off for the last time, Sunday Mail (SA).