News South32's review of the Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Company could put more than 300 Northern Tasmanian jobs at risk is concerning.
Not only for the livelihoods of those employed directly and indirectly through the Bell Bay smelter, but the Tasmanian economy at large.
"Over the next few months, we will undertake an assessment of the options for each operation including divestment, care and maintenance, or closure. We will provide a further update in October 2019," the company poignantly stated on Thursday.
It's going to be an agonising five months.
A timeframe in which South 32, the Tasmanian Government and the incoming federal government must work hard towards avoiding the worst possible scenario - a full closure. According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data for April, in trend terms, 200 Tasmanians found work in April.
But any good work the state and federal governments have done reviving the state's economy in the past five years would swiftly be undone by mass job losses in George Town - already a low socioeconomic region with a high youth unemployment rate.
Industry is a significant employer across the region and to lose a TEMCO, which has been there for 57 years, would take decades to replace. Stakeholders have worked over recent years to ensure the viability of the region. This has meant working with the industry, diversifying the workforce, promoting a healthy workforce and giving back to the community through various forms of sponsorship.
While the result isn't dependent on the state government's actions, it still has a major role to play to fight for these jobs, for the men and women who are facing unemployment as Christmas approaches.
Ideally, the value of the workers and the site will be recognised. But if it is the worst-case scenario, then our community would be facing a situation similar to Burnie and the exit of Caterpillar a few years ago and the state government will have a vital role in supporting the community and workers to rebuild.