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csg (L-R) Neve Flint, Brooke Roberts Holly Hill and Isabelle Elms (L-R) Charlie Swaffield and Friend, Jayden and Eathan Little and Rylee Flint The Smythe boys Kaleb and Harmoni Mauloni (L-R) Fern, Simon, Phoenix Morgan and River Levi (L-R) Kaitlin Hodby, Leah Thorpe, Layne O'Brien, Brooke Hodby and Maddison Thorpe Jo-Anne Burke, DB Scaffolding; Susan McGuire, Mayogroup Aboutusgeneric_1 Mitchell Brown and friends Steve Beale and Chris Dunphy, MIPEC Sgt Rob Smith and Constable Paul Muller fifo mine csg
csg (L-R) Neve Flint, Brooke Roberts Holly Hill and Isabelle Elms (L-R) Charlie Swaffield and Friend, Jayden and Eathan Little and Rylee Flint The Smythe boys Kaleb and Harmoni Mauloni (L-R) Fern, Simon, Phoenix Morgan and River Levi (L-R) Kaitlin Hodby, Leah Thorpe, Layne O'Brien, Brooke Hodby and Maddison Thorpe Jo-Anne Burke, DB Scaffolding; Susan McGuire, Mayogroup Aboutusgeneric_1 Mitchell Brown and friends Steve Beale and Chris Dunphy, MIPEC Sgt Rob Smith and Constable Paul Muller fifo

Lots of media but few surprises
Wednesday 17 June 2015  

ONE of the most interesting developments to come out of the parliamentary enquiry into fly in fly out (FIFO) work practices in Queensland are claims by BMA that its 100 per cent FIFO mines near Moranbah, are 26 per cent more productive than their other operations.

Perhaps not surprisingly, CFMEU district president Steven Smyth has challenged the claim, saying the productivity gains had nothing to do with 100 per cent FIFO and everything to do with technology on site.

"Caval Ridge and Daunia are new mines and all new mines are designed to be more efficient," Mr Smyth said.

"With brand new equipment and technology, as well as shorter haul distances and lower strip ratios, it is inevitable that newer mines are more productive than ageing mines with older equipment, long haul distances and high strip ratios.

"There is no evidence that productivity outcomes at Caval Ridge and Daunia are related to insisting workers live in Brisbane or Cairns.”

Despite there being more than 230 submissions so far,  the enquiry has failed to shed any new light on the debate around FIFO work.

Most people involved in the sector have not been surprised by submissions claiming that FIFO caused depression, family breakdowns and hurt mining towns, or that there is bipartisan political support for lifestyle choice on mine sites.

In fact Vic Gayton from one of the region's largest contractors Mastermyne based in Mackay, said she was not sure why the issue was getting so much coverage.

"Mastermyne feels really strongly about the debate around FIFO, because we feel it's a debate that shouldn't have gained the momentum that it's gained," she said.

"For the last 40 years, the sector has looked after itself and managed the situation or matter really soundly, and we certainly feel that [we should]  leave it to the sector, leave it to the industry to sort itself out, and it should not be a matter that is regulated ... there's too much regulation in the sector now.”

The six person panel involved in the enquiry will make recommendations to the state government in about 3 months time although the government is not in anyway bound to act on the recommendations.

Regardless, a survey of BMA’s FIFO workforce claimed more than 90 per cent were worried they might lose their job if the company were forced to end its 100 per cent FIFO practice at their newest mines.


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