Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: Tony martin
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: Tony martin

Albanese backs call for local-based mining workforces

OPPOSITION leader Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind calls for a local mining workforce in the Isaac region amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker put forward the bold plan, saying the model would reduce the risk of the virus being introduced to the region from FIFO workers commuting via planes and through airports.

Cr Baker urged mining companies to shift their workforce model away from reliance on FIFO and nonresident workers and instead take advantage of existing accommodation resources.

In a radio interview with 4MK this morning, Mr Albanese described the idea as a "very practical proposal from the mayor".

"That is the sort of practical initiatives that we do need," he said.

"We are living in a unique time. And we do have to ensure that we minimise the health risk while we minimise the economic impact.

"It is an interesting proposal from the mayor, and a pretty practical one."

Issac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker at the Adani Renewables Australia's Rugby Run solar farm.
Issac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker at the Adani Renewables Australia's Rugby Run solar farm.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham has not stated any support for Cr Baker's plan, but said he was "sympathetic to the concerns of regional resource communities".

"I have been in frequent contact with the Premier and the Chief Health Officer regarding the health and safety of our mining workforce and we have introduced a number of significant precautions for camps and those on the move," Dr Lynham said.

"Towns such as Moranbah and Mount Isa are already experiencing an influx of resource workers as companies are shifting their workers from a FIFO based model into a more regional model.

"As the Premier has previously stated, there are no internal borders, we are one state."

In the wake of the pandemic, Dawson MP George Christensen said local mining workforces at existing mines should be explored in the long-term.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt said the crisis would prompt mining and energy companies to permanently reduce fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers in favour of those who live close to mines.

Queensland closed its borders to all non-critical interstate FIFO resources workers from April 4.



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