IT’S about the people, the small mining communities, their struggling small businesses and the impact 100% FIFO is having on them and regional cities like Mackay.
Mirani MP Jim Pearce, as the new chairman of the State Government’s infrastructure, planning and natural resources committee that will begin investigating the issue, took strong interest in yesterday’s CFMEU Mackay forum to discuss the impact of mining companies operating 100% FIFO.
“It’s a privilege for mining companies to come in. It’s not a right. It’s about maximising returns and employment to the communities,” Mr Pearce said.
“In recent years mining companies simply put their head down and ignored the impacts they are having on local communities.
“I’ve been in the region over 30 years and never seen the regions in such a big mess, their communities. Collinsville is on its knees; Dysart, Moranbah in a terrible state. There are 3000 empty house across the Bowen Basin. Money people have invested and gone broke.”
Following the forum CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Steve Smyth said there was “broad agreement” that: compulsory 100% FIFO must end; workers at existing 100% FIFO operations must be given job security; FIFO workers should be given choice and incentives to move locally; and new jobs at existing 100% FIFO operations should be open to local workers
Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams said pressure must be applied to the State Government to ban 100% FIFO at new mines but it was hard to “unscramble the egg” on existing mine operations.
End local jobs discrimination
TWO central Queensland Federal MPs have stepped up their campaign to ban 100% fly-in, fly-out and change government Fair Work laws.
Capricornia’s Michelle Landry and Dawson’s George Christensen say the practice is devastating local jobs and towns.
They have united to introduce a Private Members Bill to the floor of Parliament House in May that would make it illegal for companies to lock people out of jobs based on their home location.
It will seek to amend the Fair Work Act to prohibit discrimination against workers based on where they live.
Mr Christensen said FIFO job advertisements that declared “applicants must live within 100km of Brisbane Airport or Cairns” smacked of discrimination.
He said the Bill, if successful, would help end the practice on some coal mines where workers who lived locally in Moranbah, Dysart, Nebo and Mackay were locked out of applying for jobs because they did not live in Brisbane, Cairns or the Gold Coast where companies preferred to source FIFO staff.
“This Bill’s intention is to ensure that central Queenslanders can apply for central Queensland jobs in our coal mining sector,” Ms Landry said.