CORONAVIRUS: State to close its borders to non-critical FIFO workers.
CORONAVIRUS: State to close its borders to non-critical FIFO workers.

Qld will close borders to non-critical interstate FIFO

INITIAL 4.45PM: QUEENSLAND will close its borders to all non-critical interstate FIFO resources workers from midnight Saturday.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham has announced only interstate FIFO workers critical to a project's operations would be allowed into the state from this weekend's deadline.

"As all resources ministers around the country have said, the resources sector is essential to maintaining a strong Australian economy," Dr Lynham said.

"It is critical that we move now to prevent people who may have been exposed to the virus bringing it to Queensland.

"Queensland has no known cases in our remote regional communities, and restricting these workers from entering the state will remove a possible transmission route."

He said exempting critical people would ensure that resources projects could continue to produce essential mineral and energy resources and maintain safe operations on site.

The ban will exempt people critical to operations, including statutory positions specified in legislation.

Statutory positions include people responsible for worker health and safety.

The changes do not affect FIFO or DIDO workers travelling from within Queensland.

Dr Lynham said most of Queensland's resources companies had already stepped up their procedures in response to the pandemic.

"Government has been working with industry for some time on protective measures," he said.

"All resources projects in Queensland are providing a COVID plan for their interstate workers to Queensland Health, and have been requested to prepare plans for their intrastate workers."

The Chief Health Officer has already sought extra precautions in camps and those on the move, whether FIFO or drive-in, drive-out.

UPDATE 6.30PM: Stakeholders, industry groups and community members have reacted to this afternoon's announcement that the state's border controls will extend to the resources sector. 

A Moranbah business owner has welcomed measures to protect mining communities from COVID-19 spreading, but believes the steps taken do not go far enough.

Queensland will close its borders to all non-critical interstate FIFO resources workers from midnight Saturday.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said only interstate FIFO workers critical to a project's operations would be allowed into the state from then.

The Milkbar owner Katie Wilson said Moranbah residents were worried FIFO mine workers could carry the virus into sites and surrounding areas.

"The only way it's going to get here is through FIFO - that's what everyone is saying in town," Ms Wilson said.

Dr Lynham said all resources ministers agreed the sector was vital to maintaining a strong economy.

"It is critical that we move now to prevent people who may have been exposed to the virus bringing it to Queensland," he said.

The ban will exempt ­people critical to operations, including statutory positions specified in legislation.

Statutory positions include people responsible for worker health and safety.

The changes do not affect FIFO or DIDO workers travelling from within Queensland.

Dr Lynham said most of Queensland's resources ­companies had already stepped up their procedures in response to the pandemic.

But Ms Wilson said many residents would prefer a local mining workforce model introduced.

"No one wants any of them to lose their jobs," she said.

"If they could stay in camps, that way they're still working, that's what people would like to happen."

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the resources sector would continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure the safety of local communities and staff.

CFMEU Mining and ­Energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth said mining companies should act urgently to offer affected workers appropriate housing near their worksites.

"The safety of workers and communities must be the top priority," he said.

"We accept that limiting FIFO is a measure to protect safety in the current circumstances." 

 



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