A new ALP Queensland government is against the use of a 100% FIFO workforce and plans to ban the practice.
Senior spokesperson for the ALP party Jackie Trad made the comments on ABC radio this morning, but moved to assure companies the government would not review workforces currently in place.
“You can’t go in and retrospectively change a workforce that would create a lot of chaos, but it would be for new mines and the policy is to absolutely stop the 100 per cent fly-in fly-out because there’s a lot of regional communities where locals are missing out on jobs because of that policy,” Trad said.
Trad said should the ALP form government, the policy would work to ensure mining companies hire locals as well as source people from coastal cities if needed.
The exact ratio of how many locals versus how many FIFO workers a company should be employ is yet to be finalised.
“We’ll continue to work that policy through if we’re lucky enough to form government in our own right,” Trad said.
The use of wholly FIFO workforces has been a contentious issue in Queensland, with critics saying the system locks locals out of the recruitment process.
In Central Queensland, BHP Billiton caused community angst when it announced its newest mines, Duania and Caval Ridge, would operate with a 100% FIFO workforce.
This meant locals could not apply for jobs at the site, and employees were instead sourced from Brisbane and Cairns.
The mining company has previously defended its decision, claiming it needs access to a diverse workforce.
The CMFEU’s Stephen Smyth there is no reason to have 100% FIFO workforces operating in Queensland.
“It’s about time,” Smyth told Australian Mining.
“We want local jobs for local people.”
“People should be given a choice about where they want to live and work – nothing should be thrust upon them as compulsory.”
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said he welcomed the news that Labor would not retrospectively review existing employment arrangements.
“Changing the rules under which companies have committed billions of investment dollars would be a very bad move by any government serious about attracting new investment and jobs,” Roche said.
“The ALP’s clarification of its policy has lifted a weight off the shoulders of hundreds of employees from Cairns and south-east Queensland who successfully competed with many thousands of other applicants for jobs at the two mines under a FIFO model approved by the former Bligh Government.”