Alistair Brightman

FIFO mines taking more than they give: council

MARANOA Regional Council believes resources companies using fly-in, fly-out workforces are taking more than they give.

The council organised a $17 million upgrade of the Roma Airport, north-west of Toowoomba, in 2012 to keep up with FIFO workers.

But in its submission to a FIFO parliamentary inquiry, the council said resources sector companies contributed only $3.5 million and the State Government $4.5 million.

The council footed the rest of the bill for the airport, which has been growing at an average rate of 87% annually for the four-year period to June 2014.

Although ratepayers paid for most of the upgrade, the council said they were often forced to book flights to Brisbane weeks or months in advance because of large demand from FIFO workers.

The council condemned the work rosters as not conducive to promoting regional population growth.

It offered anecdotal evidence that 14 families had moved to metro areas and now fly into the Wallumbilla coal seam gas hub for work, which is just east of Roma.

The council urged resource companies to promote local workforces more.

More than 200 submissions have been made to the inquiry.

The Queensland Government is investigating other long-distance commuting work practices in regional Queensland, as well as FIFO.

It will also consider the impacts on workers' families and mining communities.

The inquiry will hold hearings in central Queensland throughout June and a report will be due to parliament at the end of September.

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