Queensland Government does not support 100% FIFO
QUEENSLAND Deputy-Premier Jeff Seeney wants to make his position clear on further fly-in, fly-out workforces - his government does not support them.
He said no doubt some sections of the community would view the position as a "back flip" but maintained it had been the government's stance all along.
Mr Seeney, talking exclusively to APN Newsdesk on Wednesday, said the 100% fly-in, fly-out workforce situation across Central Queensland had changed considerably since the Caval Ridge and Daunia coal mines near Moranbah received approval for workers to fly in.
"We do not think the situation at the moment is anything like it was when the former government approved those two mines," he said.
"It is important to realise it is only two mines out of some 59 that operate their workforce strategy in this way.
"They were approved at the height of what was a housing crisis in Central Queensland."
Mr Seeney, who praised the regional media for bringing this issue to light, said the fly-in, fly-out situation today was extremely different.
"We do not have the mining boom. We have the opposite, there is a downturn," he said.
"We do not believe the situation that existed then exists now."
Mr Seeney said it was the role of the independent Queensland Coordinator-General to approve any mine applications, such as the proposed Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance operation at Red Hill, whose operators have flagged using a 100% fly-in, fly-out workforce.
"He, like everyone else, is aware the situation is very different now compared to when there was a housing crisis in Moranbah," he said.
"I cannot instruct him what to do, but he is as much aware of the changes in the environment in Central Queensland.
"I have every confidence he will reflect that in the decision he makes."
Mr Seeney said he could not foresee any situation that would require a third 100% fly-in, fly-out workforce operating in the state.
"I do not believe there will be and we certainly do not see any need for it," he said.
"We certainly would not support any further extension of it.
"I have got every confidence the Coordinator-General fully understands the situation."
Mr Seeney said he believed there had been a legitimate discussion surrounding fly-in, fly-out workforces.
He said it had always been an emotive issue.
"The media has played a very legitimate role in exploring the issue and have illustrated the degree to which it is complexed," he said.
"It is always an emotive issue and it is not until people understand the complexity of it that you can have a sensible discussion about it.
"There are an enormous number of people in Central Queensland who travel in one way or another to the mines for work.
"But to try and differentiate between someone who drives for two or three hours and someone who flys for two or three hours is just impossible when you get down to the detail of it."