Local workers leave home towns to become employed by mines
OUR regions are having the life sucked out of them and it needs to stop.
In the past two years, jobs have disappeared from the resources industry and our regional towns are growing desperate.
In the face of these shrinking prospects, the State Government has allowed workers from Brisbane and Cairns to take all 1000 jobs at two major coal mines in Central Queensland.
The Daily Mercury intends to do something about it and needs your help to get things changed.
The residents of nearby towns, including Moranbah and Dysart, were told not to bother applying to work at the Daunia and Caval Ridge mines.
By refusing opportunities to these communities, local workers have no choice but to leave their home towns if they want work.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney supports the use of a 100% fly-in, fly-out workforce.
He praised its benefits when recruiting by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance began early last year.
The FIFO precedent was set in Moranbah, but as regional mayor Anne Baker said: "Everyone should be watching".
If it becomes standard practice, it could cause the outsourcing of thousands of jobs from gas fields surrounding Toowoomba and the Surat Basin.
If untold billions are spent building proposed mines in the Galilee Basin west of Gladstone and Rockhampton - and expanding Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen - we don't want 100% of the wages being flown back to Brisbane.
Our corner stores, bakeries, car dealers and supermarkets would struggle while the cities prosper.
Some workers may need to be sourced from out of town or overseas, but it should never be all of them.
The fight against 100% fly-in, fly-out workers has already begun in Moranbah with Mayor Baker, but it cannot be fought alone.
Mr Seeney said the use of FIFO is decided by Co-ordinator-General Barry Broe, not politicians.
That may be so, but politicians in power can make laws and policy to ensure our people are given an opportunity to work.
The Daily Mercury is calling on the government to change its stance on the 100% fly in, fly out plans, ensuring our regions have a chance to grow as communities, not just as holes in the ground.
In coming days and weeks we are going to highlight these issues to you. If you have a view on this, or a story idea on this issue, tell us about it.
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