Lauga has her say on Parliamentary inquiry into FIFO
MEMBER for Keppel Brittany Lauga spoke in the Parliament today about the report from the Parliamentary inquiry into FIFO.
Ms Lauga said there are over 1200 people who work in mining in the Keppel electorate and the inquiry's recommendation to make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant on the basis of location is one which will hopefully improve the chances of Keppel locals being able to work in the mining sector.
"Currently many applicants are told that they must live in SEQ in order to even apply, let alone be considered for the role," she said.
Ms Lauga's speech is below.
Mister Speaker, it was a great privilege and an honour to be involved in the Parliamentary inquiry into Fly-in Fly-out and other long distance work practices as a member of the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee. The committee examined the impact of FIFO workforces on resource communities, including the health and social impacts, and the provision of infrastructure, housing and services.
The committee travelled to and held hearings in Emerald, Rockhampton, Moranbah, Moura, Middlemount, Dysart, Mackay, Dalby, Toowoomba, Roma, Gladstone and Blackwater. We heard from over 100 local people, current and former mining workers, FIFO workers, mining companies, chambers of commerce and industry, business owners, real estate agents, local government, local police, volunteers from sporting clubs and many more.
The overwhelming message was that a person should have a choice as to where they live for work and equal access to job opportunities. The committee has made recommendations based on the evidence presented to it and that are fair, reasonable, and achievable.
From the committee's hearings, we know Mister Speaker that:
- Workers have been told that they are not eligible to apply for positions in the mining sector, despite that they are suitably qualified and experienced for these positions. Even during the committee's inquiry there were active mining jobs in Moranbah advertised which specifically required that applicants must live within 100km of the Brisbane airport;
- Rural and regional communities are suffering. Locals told us that local businesses are closing down, local football clubs are struggling to form teams and volunteers and coaches are in short supply.
- Many mining companies do not provide support to FIFO workers who wish to relocate to the local mining community in which they work.
- Locals are not convinced that resource companies are complying with conditions of approval;
- Locals told us of their frustration with the lack of local procurement practices employed by resource companies. For example, local bakeries are overlooked to supply bread in favour of trucking bread and other supplies direct from Brisbane or elsewhere;
- Resource companies are prioritising casual workforces and the use of labour hire. There is a massive decline in the number of permanent jobs which in turn hurts local families and communities. Some workers are on month-to-month and even week-to-week contracts with no annual leave, no sick pay and no certainty or job security;
- Work rosters were central to many issues raised by stakeholders;
- There is also a clear recognition that there are a range of general workplace stress factors and specific aspects of the FIFO role that may put workers, their families and communities at risk for mental health problems
The committee's report makes 19 recommendations in total. Perhaps the most prominent of those recommendations is that which recommends the government consider making changes to the anti-discrimination legislation to stop local workers being discriminated against on the basis of where they live for work.
It is clear to me that this inquiry has demonstrated the need for all resource companies to proactively demonstrate their social licence to operate which would start with ending 'postcode discrimination'.
We have also made recommendations to strengthen the monitoring of compliance with the Coordinator-General's conditions on resource projects.
The message to the committee was loud and clear - all people should have a genuine choice of where they live for work.
Choice, Mister Speaker, is what this is all about.
The committee's inquiry has been welcomed by local people in Central and Western Queensland. Sarah Atkins from Moranbah is one of those people.
She said after eight years of living in the town she has been forced to move to find work, because BMA's nearby Caval Ridge and Daunia mines will not employ locals. Sarah said that BMA will only look at your application if a Brisbane address is used in the application form.
Sarah herself has been desperate enough to put a Brisbane address, fly to Brisbane on her last day of work, and then fly herself back to Moranbah just so that she can keep her family together in Moranbah.
To all of the local people who appeared before the community's inquiry hearings and those who made submissions during the inquiry, I sincerely thank you. I thank you for sharing your stories, some of which were deeply intimate, personal and heartbreaking stories.
I also thank the secretariat of the Committee and the Hansard staff for their ongoing dedication and support.
I thank my fellow members of the Committee -
- The chair, the Member for Mirani
- The deputy Chair, the Member for Burleigh
- And Members for Gregory, Gladstone and Dalrymple
I would like to pay particular tribute to the work of the Member for Mirani. The Member for Mirani has and always will be a champion for the people of Central Queensland and it has been an honour serving on this inquiry with you Jim. You are a great mentor to me and I look forward to continuing the fight for the workers of Central Queensland side by side with you.
Mister Speaker I commend this Inquiry report to the House and I, like the people of Central and Western Queensland, look forward to the Government's response.