The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) has opposed the Queensland Government’s plans to enforce greater regulations on fly-in fly-out workers in the state.
It comes after the state parliament’s Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee released a report following its inquiry into the state government’s planned FIFO regulations.
The committee recommended the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016 (SSRC bill) – which aims to ensure all residents living in the vicinity of large resource projects benefit from the operations – be passed.
The bill was introduced by QLD natural resources and mines minster Anthony Lynham which aims to end the use of 100 per cent FIFO workers on large resources projects; prohibit discrimination of local workers during the recruitment process; and enforce the use of social impact statements on large projects.
The committee’s report recommended that the proposed 100km radius in the definition of ‘nearby regional community’ be omitted and left to the discretion of the coordinator-general with input of the local government, unions and other stakeholders.
It also recommended the omission of the ‘200 people or more’ definition of a nearby regional community; that the state government consider amending the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 Act to include location as a prohibited ground of discrimination; and that all resource projects, regardless of size or start date, are governed by the new requirements.
The AMMA opposed the recommendations and in its submission to the committee, argued that the bill will negatively affect the idea of Queensland as a suitable place for investment.
The AMMA called the bill “unnecessary” and a “potentially very damaging over-reaction” to isolated projects during a time of increased mining investment in the state.
The association also highlighted that the aim of the proposed legislation is already being met without adding more regulation.
“There could not be a worse time to impose the speculative, retrospective and uncertain regulation that is the SSRC Bill and Guideline,” the AMMA’s submission said.
Concerns were also raised over the added red-tape, costs and delays the proposed legislation would bring mining companies, particularly in terms of preparing a social impact assessment.
AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said the association will defend the responsible use of FIFO workers.
“We are highly concerned by the Committee Inquiry’s report and its recommended changes, and will be strongly advocating against the proposals in coming weeks,” he said.