QLD govt pushes ban on 100 per cent FIFO workers

Queensland natural resources and mines minister Anthony Lynham has introduced to state parliament proposed laws banning 100 per cent FIFO workers on new large resource projects.

The requirements will apply to all large resource projects 100km or less from the regional centre and are designed to give locals the choice to work in nearby projects, ensure local businesses have the opportunity to win contracts and be part of the supply chain, and help protect the health and wellbeing of workers.

The proposed laws will also make it an offence to advertise jobs in a way that prevents residents from regional communities from applying.

Lynham told parliament, “It is only right that local workers get an opportunity to be considered for these jobs and are not discriminated against because they are local residents.”

The laws come off the back of a Parliamentary Committee inquiry into FIFO work practices in the resource sector which took into consideration a range of factors including the the health impacts of workers and their families, and the commuting practices of FIFO workforces.

However, the Queensland Resources Council is opposed to them.

“There is no justification for this sledgehammer approach when, of the nearly 50 operating coal mines in Queensland, there are just two FIFO mines, and those were approved by the Bligh Labor government,” QRC chief executive Michael Roche said.

“It is simply ludicrous to ban 100 percent FIFO operations if a proposed new mine is within 100km of a community as tiny as 200 people.

“QRC accepts that all parties in the Queensland parliament do not support future 100 percent mining operations where there are nearby towns that have a capable workforce, however we do not support any retrospective regulatory action against existing mines.”

Roche went on to say that in the midst of recovering commodity prices, more red tape would add extra costs to companies.