Lessons lost on miners

LESSONS: Member for Hinkler Paul Neville wants action on fly in, fly out work practices.
LESSONS: Member for Hinkler Paul Neville wants action on fly in, fly out work practices.

MEMBER for Hinkler Paul Neville believes the Wide Bay region should consider adopting the approach of former premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen to combat problems caused by fly-in, fly-out work practices.

That was the suggestion made by Mr Neville during a debate on the comprehensive FIFO report handed down by the Standing Committee on Regional Australia last month.

Mr Neville, who said he was a "great admirer" of Sir Joh, said there were lessons to be learned from the development of Central Queensland towns like Moranbah and Blackwater.

"One of the things he insisted on was that mining companies play a part in the development of railways and the development of settlements," he said in the Federation Chamber on Wednesday night.


Do you agree with Paul Neville and Sir Joh's approach to Fly-in, Fly-out?

This poll ended on 28 March 2013.

Yes - 61%

No - 38%

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Mr Neville said while he was sure an element of FIFO was employed during the Bjelke-Petersen era, the focus was also on developing communities.

"Where you can develop communities and make it a condition that homes have to be built-perhaps not at the construction phase but at the operational stage of a mining project-then you are doing what our early pioneers did in developing this country," he said.

But Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett executive officer Paul Massingham said the mining sector was already contributing to FIFO-affected regions.

"A significant portion of the Emerald airport was funded by the mining companies," he said.

Mr Massingham said the problem with enforcing any conditions - such as home building - was that it restricted the ability to negotiate the appropriate solutions.

"If we build 200 to 500 houses in these small communities, when the resource sector starts to wane over the next 20 to 30 years what we have done is actually build large scale infrastructures that they can't support," he said.

"One solution does not fit all in the resource sector."

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