Queensland LNP divides over FIFO issue

Member for Mackay Tim Mulherin has been railing against government policies that allow companies to hire 100 per cent non-local workforce at mine sites.

The Gladstone Observer has also launched a campaign against “enforced FIFO”, to support MP Mulherin and the use of local labour in regional Queensland.

The local newspaper has called on Queensland premier Campbell Newman to “show some leadership” and overrule his deputy Jeff Seeney and stop mining companies from employing only FIFO workers.

The policies were brought in the by the then-Labor government in 2011 as a skills crisis made it difficult to source workers locally to fill mining vacancies.

These policies were opposed by the Liberal party opposition at the time, only to backflip on the issue once the Liberals came to power in government in 2012.

With 10,000 jobs lost in the coal industry as a result of price falls from record highs, skills shortages are no longer a problem in regional Queensland, however companies are using the three-year old FIFO policy to hire only workers from outside the local area.

Other federal LNP members for Central Queensland seats have joined Mulherin to call on premier Newman to change the FIFO policy, including George Christensen and Michelle Landry.

"There is growing pressure on the Newman government to change tack, but Mr Seeney isn't listening even to those voices of reason from his own side of politics," Mulherin said.

"It is not often I am in agreement with LNP Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry, but when she says, as I already have, that it's time for the premier to stand up for businesses, schools and families in Central Queensland's mining towns, she is absolutely right.”

"The Premier should rule-out 100 per cent FIFO at any future projects in the Bowen Basin and honour the promise his party made before the last election."

A spokesman for the premier’s office said the standing FIFO arrangement was about "respecting the rights of Queenslanders to choose where they live and work".

He said there were "enormous benefits enjoyed by towns and cities in both inland and coastal Queensland that serve as 'hubs' and homes from where resource workers commute."



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