The Queensland Government will consider a report from the expert panel on the inquiry into FIFO and other long distance commuting work practices in regional Queensland, which is due to be tabled in parliament on October 9.
The expert panel consisted of two businessmen in the resource industry and two Bowen Basin mayors. The findings were handed in last week saying there had been unprecedented resource activity in Queensland in the past 15 years, leading to heightened economic activity and population growth and reversing the 1990s trend of declining population.
The report found FIFO was on the increase due to various influences such as recruitment policies, location of mines, employee lifestyle choices, cheaper airfares, roster arrangements, workplace health and safety, the use of contractors, and an increasing casualisation of operational workforces.
However the panel found an increase in non-resident operational workforces is having a negative impact on employment and on the economic sustainability of their communities.
“The overwhelming majority of resource community economic stakeholders expressed opposition to resource companies specifying predominantly non-resident operational workforces for activities located in safe travelling distance of their communities,” the report said.
While the panel admitted the government had limited legal and legislative options to change existing approvals, it recommended policy changes to stop 100% FIFO workforces in future projects.
The report also recommended local accommodation and procurement for operational activities.
The report comes just weeks after Sekitan Resources said it would be looking for a local workforce when it re-opens Wilkie Creek coalmine.
“A local workforce is more cost effective,” CEO Trevor Bourne told a Chinchilla forum recently.