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Mayor calls on Queensland Government to explain

11 October, 2017

Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft is calling on the Queensland Government to explain why the Wide Bay Burnett region was snubbed in the hunt for jobs at the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine in Central Queensland.
Despite being the best prepared region in the state the Wide Bay Burnett has been overlooked.

Rockhampton and Townsville have been announced as the fly in, fly out employment hubs for what will become Australia’s largest coal mine.

The announcement comes after the Queensland Premier took seven North Queensland mayors to India last year to meet senior Adani executives and secure the arrangement.

Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett has spent five years working with government and the resource sector to position itself as a source point for resource sector workers and helped secure more than $500,000 for the Hervey Bay Airport expansion to include a dedicated workforce departure lounge.

Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft said the Wide Bay Burnett is the largest population base outside of South- East Queensland, has two fully-equipped jet airports and a ready, willing and able workforce.

“Despite five years of work preparing and positioning ourselves as an ideal source point for recruitment we have been overlooked for this opportunity. I would argue we have done more work to secure this opportunity than any other region,” Cr Loft said.

Cr Loft said the Wide Bay was the only region in the state that received government funding for a FIFO Co-ordinator that has not seen any dedicated fly in, fly out activity.

“Our region has Memorandum of Understandings in place with proposed mines north and south of Adani’s Carmichael Mine, with the largest FIFO airline operator in the country and with other industry proponents, yet cannot get activity.

“The State Government admitted it advocated for Rockhampton and Townsville when the Premier took seven Queensland Mayors to India last year. None of our mayors from the Wide Bay Burnett were consulted or considered for this trip which sealed the deal.”

Adani, in the workforce management section of its 2014 Draft Social Impact Plan, committed to working with regional stakeholders, particularly those with specialist FIFO co-ordinators.

The Wide Bay Burnett region has a potential pool of more than 28,000 skilled workers whose qualifications match those required by current and future resource sector projects. It is estimated that more than 2,000 of this labour pool are existing resource sector workers, predominantly drive in, drive out employees and contractors.

The region’s two largest councils has led the creation of a regional workforce capability statement which has been developed to inform Resource Sector and Construction Companies of the Wide Bay Burnett’s ability to meet key industry requirements in the sourcing, recruiting and mobilising of a Fly In, Fly Out (FIFO) workforce. 

 “The Wide Bay Burnett current has 24 per cent youth unemployment, high general unemployment, low workforce participation rates, lower than average wages and an ageing population yet has again been overlooked for this opportunity which was spruiked to bring benefit to all of regional Queensland,” Cr Loft said.  
Cr Loft said that unless the State Government could give a plausible explanation for the snub, it had to be assumed the decision was politically motivated.