LNP backbencher goes rogue on FIFO

AN LNP backbencher is going rogue, calling on colleagues and voters to lobby his own party to stop allowing mines and major projects to use 100% fly-in, fly-out workers.

Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said it was a "no-brainer" that he would push the barrow, regardless of the party line.

He said others needed to show their support to end the policy, one that Premier Campbell Newman himself publicly opposed prior to the 2012 election.

Since taking power, the LNP has supported mines using 100% FIFO under certain conditions.

Central Queensland mines Daunia and Caval Ridge have 900 workers pulled entirely from Cairns and Brisbane, despite being a short drive from the resources town of Moranbah.

The arrangement was first agreed to by the former Bligh Government, at a time when coal mines were hobbled by a skills shortage.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has said LNP policy never changed, describing the former Labor government's policy as the right one at the time.

Since mid-2012, more than 8000 Queensland mining jobs have been lost as coal prices crumbled.

Mr Costigan's fight is shared by LNP Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson and Mirani MP Ted Malone.

Federal counterparts George Christensen and Michelle Landry have also attacked Mr Seeney's position, describing the deal as "geographic discrimination".

Mr Costigan said he was yet to hear of any support for 100% FIFO in his electorate.

"FIFO might be good for people in Brisbane and Cairns, but it stinks in Mackay and the Whitsundays," he said.

"I'm yet to see someone say, 'Costo, I love FIFO, what are you on about?'

"There's more chance of Cronulla winning the premiership than that happening."

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin said without Mr Seeney - who could change policy "at the stroke of a pen" - the internal criticism meant little.

"In the current climate there is simply no justification for any mining company to discriminate against local residents who want to work in Central Queensland mines," he said.

Mr Seeney said last week MPs were free to air their views on the policy, but the LNP has a "long term position".

He said workers could work at any of the other 45 mines aside from Caval Ridge and Daunia if they wanted to live locally.

"No-one supports closing down the communities out there," Mr Seeney said.

"You have to look at an industry-wide basis."

Mr Seeney said flying in staff was safer for workers because it meant no long drives at the end of shifts.

Topics:  fifo jason costigan lnp mackay mining

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