Pro-choice policy at odds with FIFO

THE State Government has released a “pro-choice” housing policy, a move which campaigners against 100% fly-in, fly-out workforces say indicates the Coordinator General should reject BMA’s FIFO application.

Treasurer and Minister for State Development Andrew Fraser said the Major Resource Projects Housing policy secured greater choice around housing for workers in resource communities.

Queensland Mining Communities (QMC) president Kelly Vea Vea yesterday welcomed the release of the policy but said it would mean nothing if the Coordinator General approved BMA’s bid for a 100% FIFO workforce at its Caval Ridge Mine.

“We reserve our judgement about this policy. It seems to lack any strong direction and is very broad,” Ms Vea Vea said.

“If this policy means what is says, the Government will reject BMA’s dangerous 100% forced FIFO application lock, stock and barrel and maintain the existing approval.”

Mr Fraser said the policy “cemented” the government’s position on supporting workers’ choice about where they wanted to live.

“The Coordinator-General plays an important role in striking the right balance between the social, economic and environmental impacts of major projects – particularly those in resources communities,” he said.

FIFO was a reality and was “neither new nor temporary” and the fundamental principle of choice was reflected in the policy, Mr Fraser said.

“Like most policy challenges, competing interests must be balanced.

"FIFO is here to stay and will increase into the future.”

Under the policy, all proponents for new mining projects would be required to submit a workforce accommodation strategy to include the accommodation and location preferences of workers.

The policy’s release came a day after Federal Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore announced an inquiry into the effects of FIFO on regional communities.

The Coordinator General will decide on BMA’s application to increase the FIFO workforce at its Caval Ridge Mine from 70% to 100% in the coming months.

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