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Battle to protect excluded workers hits a nerve

THE battle to protect local workers from being excluded from jobs in their area has hit a nerve across the state.

Frustrated at multinational mining company BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance recruiting only from Cairns or Brisbane, readers are becoming increasingly vocal.

BMA hired 1000 workers for its Daunia and Caval Ridge coal mines, locking out the Moranbah and Central Queensland communities who live within driving distance.

BMA won approval for the recruiting from the Queensland government at a time when the company struggled to fill vacancies.

A BMA spokesman said the 100% FIFO workforce spread the benefits of the mining industry across the state, allowing for a more diverse workforce.

Of its seven operating mines in Central Queensland - Caval Ridge is yet to open - six used local workers.

The 100% fly-in, fly-out workforce was criticised by the LNP while it was in Opposition, but its policy has changed since taking power.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has put these decisions in the hands of Coordinator-General Barry Broe, who makes a ruling on a case-by-case basis.

Mr Seeney said despite the 100% FIFO deal for Daunia and Caval Ridge, "there are many mining projects across the state offering employment to Queenslanders under a range of different circumstances".

Readers from Toowoomba, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Moranbah are telling the government they want action to stop 100% FIFO deals being done in their area.

A petition launched by Moranbah businessman Peter Finlay against 100% FIFO is now among the five most popular on the Queensland Parliament website.

Mackay reader Kate Battistuzzi said "the government should be doing something about this; Mackay is emptying fast as NO jobs for those who moved here for work".

Greg McCormack from Rockhampton said, "I can't apply for the jobs that fly-in, fly-out from Cairns or Brisbane unless I relocate my family. It's wrong".

Toowoomba readers Linda O'Connor, Paddy Doran and Barbara Ann Mundy each opposed the use of 100% FIFO workforces on Facebook.

Ms O'Connor said it was "not fair on locals who want to work but are not given a chance".

Mr Doran said it should not be allowed because "all it does is stuff up small country towns".

Gladstone's Debbie Sainsbury said by email, "the government, regardless of which side, needs a good, swift kick up the arse for allowing FIFO to creep in as these little places will just shrivel up and die."

Marcia Brettell from Miles in south-west Queensland said her town needed "financial input after suffering from the drought", not just fly-in, fly-out workers.

What do you think of 100% FIFO? Email owen.jacques@apn.com.au

Sign the petition here: www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petition?PetNum=2231 

Topics:  bhp biliton mitsubishi alliance



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