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QRC Hopeful FIFO Inquiry Will Deliver Good Policy

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said it is hopeful the latest government inquiry by the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee into non-residential workforces will deliver policy based evidence.

QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said that the proposed inquiry was a valuable opportunity to impartially assess FIFO and other long distance commuting practices across a range of industries in rural and remote areas.

“As a statewide survey of almost 2300 resident and non-resident resources sector workers confirmed in 2012, choice of employment accommodation arrangements is an important consideration in determining whose services are earned and retained by the sector,” Mr Roche said.

“The key message from the survey was that both residential and non-residential options need to be available to attract the best employees.”

Mr Roche said a subsequent federal inquiry into FIFO practices ignored the views of Queensland resources sector workers while lamenting an absence of empirical evidence about workforce practices in regional Australia.

“Under the chairmanship of Queensland coal industry and parliamentary veteran Jim Pearce MP, we are not expecting a repeat of the political grandstanding and opportunism that plagued the federal inquiry three years ago,” Mr Roche said.

“The facts surrounding the benefits and impacts of non-residential workforce development are readily available and QRC will make an active contribution to the committee’s deliberations.

“QRC expects the inquiry will receive the evidence it needs – including from the workers themselves – to underpin future policy formulation, noting especially Council of Unions president John Battams’ comment yesterday questioning the value of retrospective policy,” Mr Roche said.

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