Move to Brisbane, get a FIFO mines job

MORANBAH families are being told to pack up and move to Brisbane so mum or dad can get a job in the mines.

And the practice has been going on for a long time, according to the Moranbah Traders Association (MTA).

"If everyone adopted fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) there would be no community," MTA liaison officer Lynnie Busk said.

Mrs Busk said the organisation had received reports of Bowen Basin mine job applicants being told to relocate to Brisbane ever since BHP Mitsubishi Alliance released its Environmental Impact Statement for its 100% FIFO Caval Ridge Operation in 2010.

This week, BMA announced the entire workforce for its Caval Ridge and Daunia mines would be sourced from Brisbane and Cairns on a FIFO basis.

"A 100% FIFO workforce means that almost 100% of their wages are being spent in another area," Ms Busk said.

The CFMEU has also said many of its members have been told to move to Brisbane to be eligible for work in the Bowen Basin.

"We're having lots of reports coming through from people who are being advised if they want to work for BHP they need a southeast Queensland address," CFMEU district vice president Steve Pierce said.

"Which flies in the face of the dribble (BMA asset president) Stephen Dumble has been going on about BHP supporting local communities."

However, a BMA spokeswoman said the company had spent $38 million on community-building initiatives in the past financial year. "We've spent that in education and training partnerships, support for childcare centres, supporting affordable housing and other social infrastructure."

Of BMA's 5000 Bowen Basin mine employees, about 80% lived and worked in the region. "FIFO is simply an opportunity to provide choice and opportunity for other employees," the spokeswoman said. It's choice our employees are always asking us for."

The controversy follows an 18-month inquiry into FIFO, chaired by independent MP Tony Windsor, which found the practice was damaging to regional communities.


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