Councils critical of 100% FIFO bid

MEMBERS of the Moranbah community and local council representatives have stated their opposition to a proposed 100% fly-in fly-out workforce, some even saying it could signal the end of Moranbah.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance officially asked the Queensland government to allow an entirely fly-in, fly-out workforce at their Caval Ridge mine, meaning they would waive a requirement for at least 30 per cent local employees.

“We believe it will be absolutely devastating for the community as a whole and the business community in particular,” said Peter Finlay from the Moranbah Traders Association.

“BMA needs to start thinking about the community. If there is not enough accommodation here for their potential workers, then provide some for those that would like to live here with their families.

“It will be the start of a downward trend for the local businesses in Moranbah and similar towns. Nobody here believes that if 100% fly-in-fly-out is approved for Caval Ridge, then it will not be extended to all other mines, including existing ones.”

He said if the 100% fly-in-fly-out was accepted by the government, it would signal the death of Moranbah as a community.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Cedric Marshall agreed and said the council was opposed to any development that did not support the provision of accommodation choice for families and workers who wished to seek employment in the area.

“Through the Adaptive Communities process, the community have told us the important long-term benefits, costs and values to housing workers and their families within our townships. This should be reflected in any decisions affecting the growth and development of our communities,” he said.

Mackay Regional Council Mayor Col Meng said if the government accepted BMA’s proposal, it would open a “big can of worms”.

“It is not the answer to the skills shortage,” Cr Meng said.

“I don’t think these companies are putting enough money in training up the staff to combat the skills shortage.

“If the 100% FIFO workforce goes ahead, I think it will then be open slather for these mining companies and Mackay and our regions will miss out.”

Cr Meng said local workers missing out on jobs was his greatest concern.

“If they are putting a whole shift on a plane and then flying that whole shift out, then our local workers are going to miss out on the employment opportunities,” he said.

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