New pro-choice housing policy may impact BMA’s FIFO application

The Queensland State Government has released Major Resource Projects Housing Policy which emphasises choice in the belief that resource workers should have a choice of where and how they live and work.

Where a fly-in, fly-out workforce is proposed, the proponent must work with local communities, councils, unions and the state government to make sure that the liveability and sustainability of towns is protected and that workers have choice about where they live.

This policy has encouraged groups campaigning against workforces that are made up of all FIFO personnel and are calling for a rejection of BMA’s FIFO application.

BMA is seeking state government permission to increase its FIFO workforce from 70 to 100 per cent at its Caval Ridge mine. Under the current environment, there is a requirement for at least 30 per cent of the employees to be sourced locally.

Queensland Mining Communities (QMC), which was formed in May, this year is not convinced the state government’s initiative goes far enough. But the lobbying group sees the government’s handling of the BMA application as the acid test.

“If this policy means what is says, the Government will reject BMA’s dangerous 100 per cent forced FIFO application lock, stock and barrel and maintain the existing approval,” said QMC president Kelly Vea Vea according to Daily Mercury.

However, Treasurer and Minister for State Development and Trade Andrew Fraser believes this now policy supports communities impacted by activities related to resources  growth by enabling greater housing choice for workers in these communities.

According to the policy: Development of resource projects must take into account the location and capacity of existing and planned infrastructure and how best to optimise  its use, as well as requirements for new infrastructure to support project workforce accommodation.

Infrastructure requirements may include essential services such as water, power and sewerage and other services such as education, health, police services and emergency services as well as other community facilities.

Fraser is of the opinion that "FIFO is here to stay and will increase into the future.”

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