Abbott’s support of FIFO mining will kill Moranbah: business owner

A Moranbah business owner claims Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s support of FIFO will kill the town.

Abbott was in the Central Queensland town this week to help open BMA’s Caval Ridge mine.

BMA have controversially opted for a wholly FIFO workforce to service the $3.9 billion operation.

The mining company has previously defended its decision, claiming it needs access to a diverse workforce.

But others say locking locals out of the recruitment process is hurting the community.

Evan Hartley owns the Drovers Rest Hotel and told the Daily Mercury it is losing $10,000 a month.

"On average, we only have three customers per day," Hartley said.

"We are closing our restaurant at the end of the month.

Hartley said if the situation does not improve, the hotel would close by Christmas.

"We have been here for 14 years, well before the boom started," Hartley said.

At the opening of the mine, Abbott defended BMA’s decision to use FIFO workers.

"It's important to have arrangements which work for investors and to have arrangements which work with staff. FIFO works for some people, it works for some mines," Abbott said

"As I understand it, the economics of this mine worked with fly-in fly-out, they weren't going to work on a different basis and I want this mine to go ahead.”

Hartley said Abbott’s support of 100 per cent FIFO would be a disaster Central Queensland towns.

"Every motel from Blackwater to Collinsville will be bankrupt," he said.

He accused Abbott of ignoring the community’s concerns.

"He didn't talk to our mayor and didn't talk to any business owners,” Hartley said.

While BMA was celebrating this week, the company has recently announced 700 jobs will be axed from its Queensland coal business.

Businesses say the sackings, along with FIFO workers who spend little to no money in town, were all working to make he situation dire.

Bakery owner Steve Hanvey said he could be forced to shut up shop by Christmas.

"This shop relies on residents coming in and buying our bread, rolls, cakes and pies," he told 7:30.

Hanvey said demand from the mining companies had quietened and is worried about the future.

"We've got two delivery vans. We're down to one van doing only one trip each morning," he said.

"We're down to four staff and it's getting to the stage where I need to be making some decisions shortly about the number of bakers that we've got."

Liberal member for Dawson George Christensen has spoken of the need to end BMA’s 100 per cent FIFO policy and recently requested a meeting with the company to discuss the matter.

“Despite commentary by others on this matter, I am still completely opposed to BMA's 100% FIFO workforce mines. Quite frankly, I couldn't care less what others think about it. The policy needs to end,” he said.

Meanwhile, local mayor Anne Baker also wants to see jobs at the mine opened up to locals.

"While there wasn't an opportunity to actively engage the Prime Minister on the day (of the official opening of Caval Ridge Mine), we will continue to advocate through every available channel to end 100% forced FIFO," she said.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.