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QLD mines to end 100% FIFO under new legislation

Queensland mines will have to ditch 100% fly-in fly-out and hire locally under proposed Queensland Government legislation.

Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said yesterday that the government would legislate for no 100 per cent FIFO operations in new mines where nearby regional towns have a capable workforce.

The legislation would also see existing 100 per cent FIFO operations consider locals for employment.

“This Government believes workers should have choices,” he said.

“If people want to live in regional communities they should have the opportunity to apply for jobs at nearby resource projects.”

Dr Lynham told Parliament the government’s plans would deliver strong and sustainable resource communities for Queenslanders.

The plans are detailed in the government’s response to the report of the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee and an independent FIFO review panel.

The committee made 27 recommendations towards improving the outcomes from large resource projects for workers and regional communities.

The government’s response detailed a range of measures to be adopted, including:

  • improved social impact assessments by mining companies
  • workforce plans that maximise the opportunity for local workers to get jobs
  • workers to live in local existing housing, or in purpose-built villages, where there is community support
  • accommodation that provides a safe, clean and healthy environment for workers

“This will build communities, increase opportunities for employment and allow competitive local businesses to get the maximum benefit from the projects,” Mr Lynham told Parliament.

“Procurement plans are also required to ensure competitive and capable local businesses are given full, fair and reasonable opportunity to win contracts on these large resource projects.”

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker welcomed the announcement.

“Finally some direction towards fairness for local jobs for local people,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

“Finally a state government who has taken the time to listen taken the time to reason and been prepared to introduce policy and legislation to introduce genuine choice for all workers, business and industry.”

Queensland Regional Council chief executive Michael Roche said the laws will “stifle” the industry.

“The announcement today by the Queensland government to introduce new laws to parliament in response to the recent FIFO inquiry is deeply concerning to the industry and could pose a serious threat to investor confidence in the state,” Mr Roche said.

“Many of the proposed changes flagged today would not help existing and future resource operations to compete or thrive in what is an increasingly competitive global market.

“At a time when the resources sector is facing very difficult market conditions, more red tape will heap extra costs upon resource companies, which are doing everything possible to compete globally and employ thousands of Queenslanders.”

Mr Roche said the council accepts that all parties in the Queensland parliament do not support future 100 per cent mining operations, “however we do not support any retrospective regulatory action against existing mines”.

“The current arrangements at two Bowen Basin mines in relation to FIFO were put in place by the previous Labor government to address what was then an extremely tight labour market and should not be tampered with for political purposes,” Mr Roche said.

“We understand circumstances have changed since this time, but retrospective action is never welcome. The rules of the game should not be changed after they have been agreed to.”

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