BMA defends its FIFO Queensland mines

BMA has defended its choice to use FIFO employees for two new coal mines in Queensland stating its six other operations in the Bowen Basin employ residential workforces.

The move comes as regional liberal politicians held talks with their state counterparts over BMA’s decision to source FIFO workers for several new mines and expansion projects.

The company is proposing to expand underground coal mines Broadmeadow and Goonyella Riverside, as well as develop a new mine called Red Hill, all with 100 per cent FIFO workforces.

While the newly built Daunia and Caval Ridge mines have already hired their remote workforces.

Coalition member for Dawson George Christensen and Capricornia's Michelle Landry represent the towns of Mackay, Rockhampton, out to Collinsville, Moranbah and Dysart and met with Queensland Acting Premier Jeff Seeney to ask for action against the plans, The Observer reported.

Landry said there was a lot of anger amongst the community about the issue, with many people forced to move out of their towns in order to secure work.

"I think that (the state government) needs to understand this 100% fly-in, fly-out is having a very negative affect on our communities in Central Queensland," she said.

Christensen said allowing companies to recruit only from certain areas amounted to "geographic discrimination".

"I have nothing against FIFO workers," he said.

"But what (BMA) have done is say no one can apply who lives locally and regionally – it's crazy".

However in a letter to The Observer, the company defended its policy, arguing it was a major employer of Queenslanders.

“Over 4000 of our employees reside in Central Queensland,” asset president Lucas Dow said.

“BMA has built 400 new dwellings in the last two years in these communities to accommodate our workforce.”

Dow also watered down rumours the company was planning to transition its entire QLD workforce to FIFO, stating the six mines which employ from within the region would remain that way.

Defending the company’s move to operate its newest mines with a remote workforce, Dow said  access to a diverse workforce was chief among the reasons.

“In order to ensure our operations remain competitive we must be able to attract the very best people and we need to be able to provide a choice of employment which includes both residential and commute arrangements.”

More than 30,000 people from Cairns and Brisbane applied for 1000 jobs at the mines and Dow said this shows people are making important decisions about how they choose to live and work.

“The approach at Daunia has resulted in a workforce compromising 25 per cent women and almost 50 per cent of our workforce at the mine are new to the mining industry,” he said.

“These mines also bring opportunities to the local area through our Local Buy Program, local supporting services and community investments made by BMA.”

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