On a visit to Mount Isa last week, Premier Campbell Newman hinted at a plan to bolster regional centres, and ease population congestion in the South East corner, by discouraging fly-in fly-out, (FIFO) staffing on mine sites.
While the Premier acknowledged that a FIFO workforce was necessary for mines in extremely remote areas, he said he wanted to see projects close to regional cities and towns use a locally-residing permanent workforce.
“This Government believes in regional cities and towns like Mount Isa and we want to see regional Queensland built up.
“We don’t want everyone to live in South East Queensland.
“So what we have to do is take it on a case-by-case basis. If there are new mines to be built in close proximity driving distance from Mount Isa, preferably we will see the families coming here and people relocating here.”
The state government would use the approvals process to prevent certain mines from engaging a FIFO workforce.
“So when we condition new projects we will be strongly encouraging the mining companies to go with the building up of local communities and locating staff in the regional cities and towns,” Mr Newman said.
The Queensland Resources Council acting chief executive Greg Lane spoke out against the Premier’s proposed changes, saying that Queensland’s mining industry was already suffering from a skills shortage.
“Companies must be able to offer residential and non-residential options to attract the skilled workers they need,” Mr Lane said.
Local Councils in regional Queensland have cautiously welcomed the Premier’s comments, saying the move, if managed well, could rejuvenate flagging communities and improve infrastructure and services in rural and regional areas.
by Tracey Baillie