The Queensland Labor Party’s policy to ban exclusive fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) mine operations has been criticised by Australia’s resource industry employer group, AMMA.
AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said the policy could have wide-ranging implications on investment and jobs.
“It is right for residents in regional towns across Queensland to seek consultation about the use of FIFO workforces in and around their communities,” Mr Knott said.
“However, given the importance of the resource industry to Queensland jobs and its economy, any policy approach must be very well considered and consulted upon. There was little that came from today’s ALP political campaign launch to suggest this has occurred.
“Some of these projects may or may not proceed based on workforce arrangements. Taking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to complex mining projects could very well prove a deterrent to future investment in Queensland’s resource sector, costing jobs and royalties.
“If Queensland Labor is serious about pursuing a ban on exclusive FIFO workforce arrangements, we call on them to release some analysis as to what job opportunities would be created from this approach and what the potential cost could be.”
Mr Knott said that FIFO working arrangements are very much driven by their employee’s lifestyle choicesas they are employer requirements. Smaller regional towns often do not have the social infrastructure or skills availability to support project viability.
In some cases, mining operators may seek the use of FIFO workforces to ensure a short-term project does not change the long-term social fabric or employment demographics of rural communities.
“Currently, the commercial and social complexities of each proposed mining project are individually assessed during the approval process. While perhaps not scoring as many political points, this is a much more considered and responsible approach to managing major project and economic development in regional areas,” Mr Knott said.
“These are serious issues that require legitimate debate rather than be subject to to ‘policy on the run’ during election campaigns.
“The investment community that would be sponsoring new resource projects needs some degree of certainty. Given the stage of the commodity price cycle we are at, the industry doesn’t need short-sighted policies that make it more challenging to build new projects here.”