INVESTIGATION: Riverina MP Michael McCormack, committee chairman and New England MP Tony Windsor, Capricornia MP Kirsten Livermore and Durack MP Barry Hasse at Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia as part of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Regional Australia’s two-week trip.
INVESTIGATION: Riverina MP Michael McCormack, committee chairman and New England MP Tony Windsor, Capricornia MP Kirsten Livermore and Durack MP Barry Hasse at Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia as part of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Regional Australia’s two-week trip. Contributed

Livermore's FIFO study tour

KIRSTEN Livermore says her trip to Mongolia and Canada will ultimately benefit Central Queensland communities affected by fly-in, fly-out mining operations.

The two-week trip, undertaken by the Member for Capricornia and three other members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Regional Australia, was an investigation of mining in those countries and the ways communities and companies are managing its impacts and benefits.

Ms Livermore was criticised by people in the electorate, mostly through SMS messages to the Morning Bulletin, after her Pollie Tracker status showed she was in those countries from August 25 to September 8.

But she said that it was important to see how other countries were dealing with mining issues and how different approaches by governments affected their communities.

"The Regional Australia Committee has been looking into the impacts of fly-in, fly-out for the past year and our trip to Canada and Mongolia will provide valuable insights as we finalise our deliberations and recommendations to the Parliament," Ms Livermore said.

"It's important we fully understand these issues and get a grasp of how the different policy settings can affect communities."

Ms Livermore said the two-week trip, which included committee chairman and New England MP Tony Windsor, Durack MP Barry Hasse and Riverina MP Michael McCormack, had been extremely useful.

"There's massive mining investment happening right across Queensland and Western Australia and the only way you can really get a feel for how each region is handling the issue is to go and spend time with those communities.

"There's also so much to learn from examples of what's happening in places like Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada where the iron ore and oil industries are experiencing strong growth.

"We now need to take all this information back to the committee and see what initiatives might work in Australia, how we can benefit from this knowledge and just come to a better understanding of how our mining operations fit into the world picture."

The Regional Australia committee is coming to the end of its public hearings for its inquiry into fly-in, fly-out having travelled extensively as part of its community consultations.

Ms Livermore said the committee would begin deliberations in the coming months and present a report to Parliament.

"I think a lot of local communities in Central Queensland and beyond will be looking at this report to see what's happening around Australia and the different policy settings which have a bearing on this issue."

Kirsten's report in brief:

Australian company Rio Tinto is about to start production at the world's biggest copper mine at Oyu Tolgoi in southern Mongolia.

The multi-billion dollar mine will account for close to a third of Mongolia's economy in coming years.

Rio Tinto is investigating options for housing its permanent workforce which may include the construction of a new town.

Canada is experiencing growth in the oil sands, iron ore and offshore oil and gas industries.

The committee heard examples of how local and provincial governments are insisting on a balance between mining development and community needs.



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