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Labour hire mine workforce cost local economy $825M says report

BHP mine worker
Mine worker

Outsourcing resources employees caused hundreds of millions of dollars of lost economic opportunities in the past year, a new study has found.

The McKell Institute has confirmed Australia would be up to $825 million better off if mining companies had of directly employed workers instead of resorting to labour hire firms.

The latest Wage-cutting Strategies in the Mining Industry Report shows labour hire caused almost $283M in lost local business opportunities in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, nearly $297M in Queensland’s Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday areas, and up to $248M across Central Queensland.

Loss totals up to $1B

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) believes the full impact could be nearly $1 billion if all regions are included.

“Anyone with any exposure to the mining industry knows the toxic effect that labour hire has had,” CFMEU mining and energy general president Tony Maher said in a public statement. “What this report does is lay out the total impact in stark dollar terms and it is brutal. If mining companies had continued to employ workers directly on existing site agreements the Hunter would be $250M better off this year and the regions surrounding Mackay and Rockhampton in Central Queensland would be over $500M better off.”

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He said more proponents should act on the Federal Court’s Skene decision, which found mineworkers cannot be considered real casuals if work arrangements are regular and ongoing, with long-term rosters made in advance.

“Now that the real cost of this practice has been laid bare, we should all be demanding change,” Maher said. “We should not just accept the loss of $1B a year in economic benefit to Australian mining regions to line the pockets of mining executives and global investors. We need fairer workplace laws to end this corrosive practice.”

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