QLD pollie pushes FIFO tax

Former central Queensland politician Jim Pearce has suggested a tax for fly in fly out workers for mining companies.

The former Labor member for Fitzroy, who is currently making a push as the ALP candidate for Mirani, is calling for a $20 per miner per week tax for each FIFO worker, the Daily mercury reports.

"Only a fool would argue that thousands of commuting workers are not having a demoralising impact on the quality of life for permanent residents," Pearce said.

"We have to be creative in our thinking if we are to lift the coal towns out of the doldrums."

However, Pearce qualified that he did not want all miners to pay the tax, only FIFO and DIDO workers.

Pearce believes that the tax would raise about $20 million every year.

"My proposal every mining company, gas company, sub-contracting company, $20 per head per week for workers who commute to a mine or site for work who live in workers camps or rented accommodation in town and that the company has to be responsible."

He went on to say that mining companies will "whinge like a stuck pig, but that doesn’t concern me because we are in good times and it’s about time that some of the riches that are taken from the region are returned to the region".

His comments come as FIFO miners see a back lash in the Pilbara mining town of Newman.

A mother from Pilbara mining town Newman has created a range of bumper stickers hitting back at fly-in-fly-out workers who ridicule the town.

Nicole Willis told The West Australian many people do not realise locals enjoyed living in town, and she was sick of FIFO workers “bagging out” the community.

“What they don’t realise is that this is a home town for a lot of us,” she said.

Willis said she had already received over 40 orders for her stickers, the first of which read “Newman: love it or leave it”.

A second sticker currently under design reads “Newman: 2 roads in, 2 roads out, if you don’t like it take one and f**k off”.

Willis said it was frustrating to see mining towns and communities play a role in supporting FIFO workers only to see them provide very little economic support in turn.

Pearce said that it was important to support local people not in the mining industy.

FIFO workers are also fracturing mining communities in Queensland, with BMA’s plan to use a 100 per cent FIFO workforce at the Caval Ridge mine has drawn the ire of some locals.

A focus on FIFO is also being blamed as contributing to the lack of permanent housing development in mining communities, leading to skyrocketing house prices.

Due to this rising prices, the government has set up a mining rent affordability taskforce to investigate and keep prices under control.



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