THE Queensland Government has accepted recommendations of a state inquiry into fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) work in regional Queensland, foreshadowing significant additional regulation of FIFO work in state.

Speaking last week, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham said that later this year the government would legislate for:

  • No 100 per cent FIFO operations in new mines where nearby regional towns have a capable workforce; and
  • For existing 100 per cent FIFO operations to need to consider locals for employment.

The state parliament’s Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee last year made 27 recommendations to regulate resource operations in Queensland.  The government plans to adopt a range of measures which will impose new regulation on workforce planning and worker accommodation.

In a public response to the government’s announcement, AMMA expressed concerns over the impact of unnecessary over-regulation and disappointment that the government had overreacted in accepting misguided recommendations that could harm future investment in the state.

“Given this inquiry has its origins in the hiring strategies of just a couple of Bowen Basin mines, the government’s plans to over-regulate the wider industry is a vast overreaction,” said AMMA executive director policy and public affairs, Scott Barklamb.

“The planned legislation risks blanketing the entire sector with punitive new regulatory measures that increase the risk of investing and employing in Queensland and will not improve outcomes for local jobseekers, FIFO employees or local communities.

“Altering current FIFO work arrangements for existing projects is an especially bad idea. It sends a signal to future resource sector investors that arrangements with the Queensland Government can be changed at a whim and cannot be treated as solid foundations for commercial decision making.”

Mr Barklamb added that resource employers already make considerable efforts to address the challenges of staffing operations throughout Queensland, the unique challenges of FIFO work, and the need to engage with local communities.

“AMMA was hoping to engage in a well-considered debate about the ongoing use of FIFO in Queensland and how future working arrangements could best deliver jobs and opportunities for regional communities,” he said.

“However the government is instead seeking to interfere with various company decisions such as apprenticeship and trainee numbers, local procurement strategies, how workforces should be accommodated and other unnecessary intrusions into commercial considerations.

“We hope future Queensland Government inquiries into the state’s resources sector will better examine how fit-for-purpose, properly consulted and sustainable working arrangements can provide an attractive platform for new project investment and deliver jobs and income to regional areas.”

The Queensland Government is yet to release its draft legislation. To view recommendations from the state inquiry and related review, click here. For more information on AMMA’s representation of resource employers throughout the inquiry, please contact our policy team on 1800 627 771.