Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen.

FIFO report ignites MPs, private members bill to come

THE state government would break an election promise if it acts on a recommendation from an inquiry into FIFO.

That's according to Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen, after a state government parliamentary report into FIFO released Friday said it would not support "retrospective recommendations to current project approvals".

Mr Christensen will now seek to introduce his own private members bill to parliament, to address the reports' alleged failures.

"If the government adopts this as their policy, it is quite clearly a broken promise," Mr Christensen said.

"Because Labor before the election said 'we will fix the existing 100% FIFO approvals if there are local workers available'

"There quite clearly are (local workers)… but now they are saying none of the recommendations will deal with existing approvals."

He was also concerned the report labelled Mackay workers FIFO.

He said it could mean Mackay workers miss out on jobs in the future.

"If they shed the 100% FIFO policy, BMA will only have to look at people who live in Moranbah... (Then) they can look to Brisbane and Cairns, they don't have to look to Mackay," he said.

"Mackay locals will be treated no differently to Brisbane residents.

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"That is a gravely flawed philosophy."

Mr Christensen said his private members bill would be similar to legislation recommended by the report, but would not include these two "caveats".

The inquiry was chaired by Mirani MP Jim Pearce who said the objective was to have all workers on an even playing field, irrespective of their location.

"We're going to be asking the attorney general to add 'geographic location' to the list of things people cannot be discriminated against," Mr Pearce said.

He said the reason for not changing any mining approvals already in place was because he didn't want workers to lose jobs.

"Those people who have a job, they deserve to hold a job...but from the point on when the legislation is put in place, they will not be able to do that (require 100% FIFO) again," he said.

He said it was difficult to quantify what percentage of FIFO workforce was acceptable.

"And also we would face a fairly lengthy battle in the courts (if we disallowed 100% FIFO at mines with existing approvals), which the mining companies were preparing for...retrospective legislation is not the best way to do things."