A good mix of FIFO and local jobs is what Queensland mine workers are looking for
Recently, 2300 of Queensland’s mining and resource industry workers made a noise about the fact that they wanted to be able to choose whether to live in communities and townships close to where the mining jobs were, or whether to be FIFO workers.
The Queensland Parliamentary Inquiry into fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) and the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said that after consulting the mine workers, it was clear that there needs to be a balance of residential and non-residential work-commuting choices. This had many advantages as well as being a primary key in attracting the best employees.
‘The QRC calls on the Parliamentary Committee to ensure it hears from a representative cross-section of the workforce during its deliberations,’ QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said.
Mr Roche said that while QRC acknowledged that future mining operations should not have a 100 percent FIFO workforce, when there were competent and trained workers living close to the mine.
A 100 percent FIFO operational workforce
‘I understand that only two coal mines in all of the Bowen Basin have ever been granted approval for a 100 percent FIFO operational workforce, but even at those two mines, in any month, around 1000 local workers and contractors provide services to the mine’, said Roche.
He went on to talk about how mining conditions in Queensland had changed over the years and it was a very different story today because attracting skilled employees was proving extremely difficult for Australian mining companies. In the days of high coal prices and a booming world economy, the resource sector in Queensland had a very different landscape; and jobs were easy to get because the more people on the ground meant more output.
Flexible workforce arrangements
Roche went further saying that flexible workforce arrangements are important to secure the Queensland resources sector’s long-term future. The sourcing of labour for the mines should continue to be determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the proximity of an existing or proposed mine site to local towns, the availability of skilled people and the competition for the jobs being advertised.
It’s been well noted that the overwhelming majority of mining and resource sector operations in Queensland has a good mix of residential (DIDO & BIBO) and FIFO workers and will continue to do so.
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