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No more ‘hot bed’ hanky panky, says council

Coal communities advocate Jim Pearce welcomed the council's stance on mine worker's accommodation.
Coal communities advocate Jim Pearce welcomed the council's stance on mine worker's accommodation. Chris Ison

THE resource industry's practice of "hot bedding" will not be tolerated by the Central Highlands council in any new non-resident FIFO or DIDO workforce accommodation.

In its newly released policy statement, the council has actively promoted a "one key, one room" approach with individual workers afforded some privacy and comfort.

"I congratulate the council for finally having the courage to stand up to these big accommodation camp developers," coal communities advocate Jim Pearce said.

"Someone should be making sure the workers have accommodation that is quality accommodation that they can call their own while they're on the job."

 

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"Council is supportive of accommodation that is designed and constructed to provide non-resident workers a single room for the duration of their employment," the policy states.

 

"This approach encourages a sense of community and ownership by these workers.

"To remove any doubt, council does not support in any circumstances the practice of 'hot bedding' whereby employees/contractors share a room for the duration of their shifts of employment."

All camp applications will now be assessed by councillors, with no delegated approvals to be ticked off.

The downside for camp developers could be the doubling of room numbers to comply with the policy, alongside the demand for high quality construction in urban areas.

"There is broad agreement that 'hot bedding' is a dying practice at the hands of worker preferences," an industry source said.

"People will simply not take jobs under such conditions - a point confirmed strongly in the 2012 QRC Workforce Accommodation Survey of 2300 sector workers."

Mr Pearce claimed mining companies had enjoyed years of "ripping off taxpayers" through the use of FIFO and DIDO employees.

"It appears that for accommodation, travel and food, the mining companies are allowed to claim tax benefits under the fringe benefits tax," he said.

"The people I know that are doing the hot bedding are quite fed up with it because they have to unload everything at the end of the shift into their car and then bring it back."

Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said the policy was drawn up to give all parties the clearest of guidelines.

The policy also covers camps for the rural sector, public and civil works and construction, and emergency accommodation.


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