The Queensland Government has taken a step back on FIFO disputes, claiming it is up to regional councils and mining companies to work it out.
Following studies looking at the social and economic effects of fly in fly out workers on the State’s central west, concerns have been raised as the outcomes it will have upon smaller towns.
Many, like Barcaldine mayor Rob Chandler, are worried that the smaller communities may miss out on the economic benefits of the mining boom.
This issue has been particularly heated in Moranbah, where miner BMA had previously agreed to source at least 30% of its workforce from the local community, but instead pushed for a 100% FIFO workforce.
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union regional spokesperson Steve Smyth said at the time that “whether it’s Moranbah this week or Collinsville the next or Blackwater or Tieri, the thing is if it happens in one place and it’s just allowed to happen without any people having the opportunity of choice, then it’s going to have a real detrimental affect on the Bowen Basin and other coalfields.”
In the most recent development, BMA has relocated 60 permanent mining supply chain jobs from Mackay to Brisbane.
Regional Economic Development Corporation chief executive Narelle Pearse commented on this move, saying that mining companies need to have a strong relationship with the locals.
However, Tom Rayner from the DEEDI said the QLD Government is still reviewing the findings of the studies.
“Historically where there is mining and development, there is some level of economic growth in most communities and the level of growth varies obviously,” Rayner said.
“Most small communities experience some growth, just at different levels.
"Where we can offer support but as such we have no fixed policy on fly-in and fly-out," he said.
This issue is particularly prevalent in West Australia’s Pilbara region, where the majority of FIFO mining occurs.