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CFMEU calls on MPs to explain FIFO discrimination bill

The CFMEU have called on Central Queensland Coalition MPs Michelle Landry and George Christensen to reveal details about how their proposed amendment to the Fair Work Act 2009 would actually work to fix the issue of 100 per cent compulsory FIFO and whether their own party will support it.

Mining and Energy District President Steve Smyth questioned whether Christensen and Landry would push for an end to the tax incentives that their Government gives to companies for using FIFO workers above local workers.

“Until we hear more information about whether this bill would actually end compulsory 100 per cent FIFO, this looks like nothing more than a popularity stunt by Landry and Christensen,” said Mr Smyth.

“If this really will give workers at Daunia and Caval Ridge a real choice about where they live and whether they work FIFO, of course we would support it.

“But Landry and Christensen haven’t yet explained how it will work in practice or even whether their own party will support it. If they are serious about this issue, Landry and Christensen should also be pushing their Government to quickly end the preferential tax treatment that companies like BHP get for using FIFO workers.

“There’s a Federal Election coming up and these are two of the most marginal seats – is this bill just a panicked attempt to regain the support of the community in Central Queensland from two MPs who have sat on their hands for the past two years?

“After all, we won’t forget that Michelle Landry stood beside then Prime Minister Tony Abbott as he defended the 100 per cent compulsory FIFO arrangements at the opening of Caval Ridge.”

Mr Smyth said that the Coalition Government had its chance to address the damaging impacts of compulsory FIFO when it responded to the Parliamentary Inquiry led by Tony Winsor in June this year – but it chose to dismiss the concerns of Central Queensland communities.

“The Windsor report offered a clear path forward to mitigate the damaging impact of FIFO on workers, families and communities, but the Coalition Government rejected most of the report’s 21 recommendations and has not yet reviewed FIFO tax arrangements.

“The fact is that the Turnbull Government still gives big mining companies special tax breaks that reward companies for bypassing local workers.

“When the Federal Coalition Government dismissed our region’s concerns about compulsory FIFO, we heard nothing but resounding silence from Landry and Christensen.

“If they are now taking the issue seriously then that’s great and we’ll support any effective solution which will stop the damaging impacts of compulsory FIFO – but we need to see the evidence first.”

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