Mineral council report tries to undermine FIFO findings
IN WHAT is being seen as a pre-emptive strike, a national mining body has released a report cheering the industry just weeks before an investigation into fly-in, fly-out workers is delivered to Parliament.
The KPMG report commissioned by the Mineral Council of Australia uses 2011 census data to show the huge contributions the mining industry makes to regional centres.
It covers nine resource-rich areas in four states, including the Galilee, Bowen and Surat basins in Queensland.
The report - backed by demographer Bernard Salt - found the resources industry was responsible for higher levels of education, income and population growth in most centres compared to their non-mining counterparts.
These areas also had lower levels of unemployment compared to those regions where there was little or no mining.
Independent MP Tony Windsor - chair of a parliamentary committee inquiry into fly-in, fly-out and drive-in, drive-out workers - said it was designed to undermine the committee's findings.
The Mineral Council's public affairs director Ben Mitchell denied this.
"It's not to pre-empt but we hoped this would feed into the report so that we would have a balanced view," he said.
"We're never nervous about committee reports. We treat everything on its merits.
"We hope any policy that's made (as a result of the inquiry) is fact-based and does not rely on feelings or vibes.
"We want them basing policy on facts, figures, data and reality."
The KPMG report makes little mention of FIFO or DIDO workers.
After almost 18 months of touring the country listening to concerns, companies and lobby groups, the committee's report is drafted, ready for approval.
Mr Windsor said the Mineral Council was worried the report would be negative.
He was careful in his words because the inquiry's conclusions remained confidential until submitted to the Parliament.
Mr Windsor said the issue with KPMG' report relying on Census data was that the Australia Bureau of Statistics was on public record saying its data was incomplete.
"If you're a FIFO worker and the census asks you where you live, you give your home address," he said.
"You're meant to give the address you reside in that night.
"It's being interpreted as hard data as you describe it, but the ABS is on public record expressing concern over the way the Census is done and the way it addresses how people work."
The federal independent said the KPMG report was delivered to the committee's secretariat labelled confidential after the group's findings were largely completed.
Since then, he said the Mineral Council had repeatedly contacted the committee to find out when its findings would be released.
"One could be forgiven for thinking they wanted to know that so they could get their report out first," he said.
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