20 January 2015

The resource industry employer group – AMMA (Australian Mines and Metals Association)

QUEENSLAND Labor’s policy to ban exclusive fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workforces on mining projects raises serious concerns for the state’s mining sector and the thousands of jobs it supports, says Australia’s resource industry employer group, AMMA.

The short-sighted policy, announced today by ALP state leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, could have wide-ranging implications on investment and jobs.

“It is right for residents in regional towns across Queensland to seek consultation about the use of FIFO workforces in and around their communities,” says AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.

“However, given the importance of the resource industry to Queensland jobs and its economy, any policy approach must be very well considered and consulted upon. There was little that came from today’s ALP political campaign launch to suggest this has occurred.

“Some of these projects may or may not proceed based on workforce arrangements. Taking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to complex mining projects could very well prove a deterrent to future investment in Queensland’s resource sector, costing jobs and royalties.

“If Queensland Labor is serious about pursuing a ban on exclusive FIFO workforce arrangements, we call on them to release some analysis as to what job opportunities would be created from this approach and what the potential cost could be.”

Mr Knott notes FIFO working arrangements are very much driven by their employee’s lifestyle choices as they are employer requirements. Smaller regional towns often do not have the social infrastructure or skills availability to support project viability.

In some cases, mining operators may seek the use of FIFO workforces to ensure a short-term project does not change the long-term social fabric or employment demographics of rural communities.

“Currently, the commercial and social complexities of each proposed mining project are individually assessed during the approval process. While perhaps not scoring as many political points, this is a much more considered and responsible approach to managing major project and economic development in regional areas,” Mr Knott adds.

“These are serious issues that require legitimate debate rather than be subject to ‘policy on the run’ during election campaigns.

“The investment community that would be sponsoring new resource projects needs some degree of certainty. Given the stage of the commodity price cycle we are at, the industry doesn’t need short-sighted policies that make it more challenging to build new projects here.”

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