Isaac region Mayor Anne Baker has hailed the passing of the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill in Parliament last night as a win for all Queenslanders.
Cr Baker, who has been fiercely advocating for an end to forced fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) practices, said the Bill signified a clear intent of all sides of government to put mining communities and regions back on a level playing field
“We have won the right for people to make their own living choices – no longer is where you live a condition of where you work,” she said.
“This bill will also provide genuine ongoing opportunity for communities to have a seat at the table on managing social impacts.
“I want to sincerely thank the community for their ongoing steadfast support, and for working tirelessly to advocate for genuine choice for all.”
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill would prohibit 100 per cent FIFO for operational workforces, prohibit discrimination in recruitment against local workers and enhance the social impact assessment process.
This applies to large resource projects with 100 or more workers and an environmental authority within a 125km radius of a regional community with at least 200 residents.
“This first ever Bill to address FIFO strikes a balanced and considered approach that will deliver positive social and economic outcomes for resource communities across Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.
“A major change is the new provision in the Anti-Discrimination Act that will prevent companies discriminating against locals in the future recruitment of workers and allow FIFO workers to move into the local community if they want to.
“The Bill includes a recruitment hierarchy that prioritises recruitment from local and regional communities, followed by recruitment of workers who will live in a regional community.
“The independent Coordinator-General will have additional powers to administer the Bill and enforce compliance. This includes requiring proponents to produce a workforce management plan and setting approval conditions on these plans on projects where the 100 per cent FIFO prohibition is contravened.”
The CFMEU Mining and Energy Division also welcomed the new laws, describing the outcome as the culmination of the union’s five-year long campaign to prevent mining and resource companies from discriminating against local workers in regional Queensland.
“It now ends the ludicrous situation where locals were denied permanent jobs at mines on their doorsteps, forcing some to fly hundreds of kilometres to Brisbane or Cairns then fly back in again to live alone in a camp just minutes away from their homes and families,” Senior CFMEU Mining and Energy District vice-president Mitch Hughes said .
“This Bill now bans 100% FIFO and ends discrimination against locals on all future mining and resource projects in Queensland.
“And it means workers at the two existing mines with compulsory 100% FIFO arrangements – Daunia and Caval Ridge – will have a choice about whether or not they want to live locally or continue to fly in, fly out.”
The law is part of a resource communities policy framework that came out of a Parliamentary Committee inquiry into FIFO work practices in the resource sector.