End to 100% FIFO: Mines to be forced to consider locals

CURRENT 100% fly in, fly out mines will have to consider local workers for jobs under proposed Queensland Government legislation.

In a response to a parliamentary inquiry into FIFO mines, the Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the government would be introducing legislation to make existing and future mines consider job applicants no matter where they live.

But the Queensland Resources Council dubbed the proposals "deeply concerning" and a threat to investment in Queensland.

The inquiry recommended the government amend the Anti-Discrimination Act to include location, which the government said they supported "in principle".

"The government appreciates this was a fundamental recommendation of the inquiry and is proposing to introduce a legislative package, which will ensure that for existing and future resource projects to which the policy applies, any person must be able to apply for a job no matter where they live," the response said.

BHP operates Queensland's two all-FIFO mines at Daunia and Caval Ridge.

In parliament Dr Lynham said the proposed legislation would mean more jobs for central Queenslanders.

"Labor believes that if people want to live in resource communities they should have the opportunity to apply for jobs near resource projects," he said.

"Our new policy framework will ensure no 100% FIFO operations in new mines where nearby regional towns have a capable workforce. Existing operations will need to consider locals for employment."

Shadow mines minister Andrew Cripps said the proposed changes were "predictable".

"When we debated the report in October 2015, I described the recommendations as vanilla, unremarkable and providing no justification for wholesale changes to existing work practices in regional Queensland," he said.

QRC chief Michael Roche said the industry was already struggling and more restrictions would not help.

"The current arrangements at two Bowen Basin mines in relation to FIFO were put in place by the previous Labor government to address what was then an extremely tight labour market and should not be tampered with for political purposes," he said. "We understand circumstances have changed since this time, but retrospective action is never welcome. The rules of the game should not be changed after they have been agreed to."

BHP did not respond to a request for comment. - ARM NEWSDESK

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