AUTOMATION: A Komatsu 930E autonomous haul truck. Picture: Gary Ramage
AUTOMATION: A Komatsu 930E autonomous haul truck. Picture: Gary Ramage

Future plan to force miners to keep local jobs

FORCING mining companies to keep local jobs if they move to automation would be a key priority for the LNP government if it wins the state election in October.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington will today make an election pledge requiring mining companies that introduce automation to establish control centres in nearby communities.

Ms Frecklington said she would not accept mining companies stripping jobs from regional communities and replacing them with remote-controlled operation centres in a capital city, interstate or overseas.

“Every industry has to innovate and make use of technology, but the obligation to support local jobs is non-negotiable,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Whole communities in regional Queensland depend on mining and the LNP will never turn our backs on those towns.

“The LNP will make sure that mining jobs stay in mining communities.”

The party has pledged to introduce a suite of measures to protect jobs as part of its pro-jobs resources policy.

These include a requirement for the co-ordinator-general to call-in approvals if a resource company proposes to cut jobs through automation at an existing mine site.

JOBS PRIORITY: LNP Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: Adam Head
JOBS PRIORITY: LNP Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: Adam Head

Automation assessments would be mandatory for new resource projects.

They would stipulate that jobs should not be relocated from resource communities and companies must provide training pathways in these areas to support technological transition.

The LNP has vowed to continue to oppose 100 per cent FIFO resource projects near regional communities and said they would immediately review­ the Strong and Sustainable­ Resource Communities Act 2017if it won government.

The party’s policy announcement follows BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s decision last year to introduce 86 driverless trucks at its Goonyella Riverside mine near Moranbah.

Following the announcement, BMA said more than 50 new full-time permanent jobs would be created at Goonyella Riverside mine as a result of automation.

The mining giant said the new jobs would be based at a new automation control room to be created at the mine site.

Opposition mines spokesman Dale Last said the LNP would always stand up for regional Queensland jobs.

“Labor’s Jackie Trad told regional communities and miners to “re-skill” and look for new jobs,” Mr Last said.

“ … The LNP will protect mining jobs in mining communities and build a stronger economy for Queensland.”