THE battleground is almost 1000km away, but Toowoomba councillor Chris Tait is preparing his war paint.
The solicitor-turned-politician is watching the fight between Central Queensland’s mining community and the State Government, all while keeping an eye on what it means for his region.
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance won State Government permission to hire all 1000 staff for its Caval Ridge and Daunia coal mines from out-of-town, not from the nearby town of Moranbah.
According to both BMA and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney this allows mining wealth to be more evenly distributed across the state.
It also gives the opportunity for those who live in areas with high unemployment to enjoy the benefits of mining wages, according to Mr Seeney.
The Warwick Daily News is campaigning against allowing companies and the State Government to exclude all local workers from even applying for these roles.
Moranbah businessman Peter Finlay has launched a formal petition against the government policy, which he believes has had a “massive effect” on the community.
Cr Tait said he and Mr Finlay would be on the same page, particularly with the proposed gas development in Toowoomba’s surrounding areas.
“If companies are taking resources out, they should be prepared to make some commitment to communities they operate in,” he said.
He said while Western Downs communities like Miles or Chinchilla would cop the worst of such a policy, there would be “some effect” on Toowoomba.
“If it is complete fly-in, fly-out, there is no community,” Cr Tait said.
“You need people in the town to participate in school, to support doctors so there is a viable medical facility.
“We cannot concentrate all of this on the coast, it has to be in communities where the coal is, where the gas is.”