MPs fight against party-room support for 100% FIFO

A GROUP of Central Queensland MPs within the LNP helped fight against 100% fly-in, fly-out operations, thrashing it out at a party room meeting.

This week, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney announced coal mines would struggle to win permission to recruit entirely from outside the local area.

Moranbah coal mines Caval Ridge and Daunia - each owned by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance - are the only operations with approval to hire workers solely from out of town, a decision made by the former Labor government.

The approval was given as coal prices boomed and mines were left with crippling staff shortages.

Federal and state MPs, along with residents and regional newspapers feared a precedent that could lock local workers out of future mining jobs.

Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said he and Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson each fought to raise their concerns about 100% FIFO with Mr Seeney and the government.

Mr Costigan said when the party room met on June 2, it loomed large on the agenda.

"It's not for me to spill my guts as to what was said in our last party room meeting, but suffice to say, I made it abundantly clear that communities across Central Queensland were hurting badly because of these 100% fly-in, fly-out arrangements," he said.

"We are a party of choice, which is something the Deputy Premier certainly touched on this week."

Mr Costigan said regional MPs fought for "clarity to the situation".

In May, Mr Johnson described 100% FIFO as "100% evil".

Mr Costigan said the Gregory MP and other Central Queensland MPs stood up for their constituents who "have had a gutful of 100% FIFO".

Mr Seeney stopped short of ruling out future projects this week, but gave a strong indication there would no more 100% FIFO mines.

He said such conditions would need to be approved by the Queensland Coordinator-General and "he, like everyone else, is aware the situation is very different now compared to when there was a housing crisis in Moranbah".

"I cannot instruct him what to do, but he is as much aware of the changes in the environment in Central Queensland.

"I have every confidence he will reflect that in the decision he makes."

Mr Johnson could not be reached for comment on Friday.


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