The Mayor of Queensland’s biggest mining region has launched a stinging attack against the State Government saying 100% forced FIFO is the single biggest threat facing Central Queensland and will ultimately destroy the wealth of regional Queensland.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor, Anne Baker, today issued a statement saying, “It was extremely disappointing and a reflection on the current government’s intentions to read Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney comments yesterday to “stop scare-mongering and allow the Coordinator General to make his decision without political interference” (Daily Mercury, page 5, 18 February 2014).
“It is reasonable to represent our residents and stand up when we facing the long-term failure of our regional communities, and it’s bigger than that, no one in Central Queensland is safe, particularly Mackay and Rockhampton.”
“If the Queensland Government condones 100% forced FIFO work practices at Red Hill they are effectively allowing BMA to cut jobs in the region and lay the foundation for regional decline.”
“Our past experience has shown the government’s desire to be political by removing community participation through the Coordinator General and taking an ‘approve now and worry about the impacts later’ approach. This is exactly what has been proposed for Red Hill in BMA’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
“The reality on the ground in Isaac is the future is scary and the Red Hill EIS is the last opportunity to voice the community’s concerns.”
“In his election promises, Premier Campbell Newman said if the LNP was elected it would categorically rule out a 100% FIFO workforce for any mine: All I am asking for is a common sense approach in the assessing process.”
“While Council is not naive enough to expect the total employment numbers to be sourced locally, if 100% forced FIFO becomes the norm regional Queensland will be threatened.”
“As I have said before, our vital and well established mining regions must be strong, healthy communities. Our communities need population and economic growth, small businesses need confidence and we need community sustainability.
“It is a clear responsibility of mining companies and the State Government to ensure balance and choice to the work force and resource communities is implemented for any future mines.”
“Our community is calling for transparency, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) must state whether the proposed Red Hill Mine will be another 100% forced Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) workforce like Caval Ridge and Daunia.
“Where is the government’s protection for the economic growth of resource communities and regional Queensland? And how do these forced FIFO work practices fit into the State Government’s Regionalisation Strategy?” questioned Mayor Baker.
“The resource communities welcome new people working in these new mines, however under a forced FIFO arrangement, they’ll never be given a choice to watch their kids play after school or join a volunteer community association.