Fly In Fly Out miners walk out to their waiting QANTAS Dash 8 at Moranbah airport.
Fly In Fly Out miners walk out to their waiting QANTAS Dash 8 at Moranbah airport.

Qld could ban FIFO miners from NSW hot spots

FIFO workers in NSW COVID-19 hot spots could be blocked from flying into Queensland amid fears of an imminent second wave in Sydney.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the majority of Queensland's interstate FIFO workers recognised as "critical" live in New South Wales.

"Any further advice from the Chief Health Officer surrounding NSW hot spots would prevent workers living in those areas from flying into Queensland," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Queensland's resources sector has strictly adhered to the advice of the State's Chief Health Officer and implemented further safety measures to ensure its workers and the communities in which they work are kept safe.

"Part of the screening process for interstate FIFO workers are company-specific health plans where workers are asked if they live in a COVID-19 hotspot.

"If they answer 'yes', the worker is unable to fly to Queensland."

It comes after WA Premier Mark McGowan this week called on resource companies to employ state-based workers post-COVID.

"I don't think flying in workers from over east is sustainable any longer," he said.

"With or without COVID-19."

COAL ADVOCATE: Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane.
COAL ADVOCATE: Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane.

A spokesman for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said employers were already encouraged to use local workers.

"Palaszczuk Government policy encourages employers to use local workers, and for workers to live where they work - and that means in regional Queensland mining communities," he said.

"Our policies also recognise that this is not possible for some remote sites, and that FIFO is the only option.

"We've already worked closely with the resources sector to ensure they can keep people employed and keep the economy moving."

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The spokesman said however, should the industry put forward another plan, it would be given "due consideration".

"But importantly, our policies are about mine workers living in regional mining towns, not the West Australian model of bringing interstate FIFO workers into a state capital," he said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Peter Wallis
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Peter Wallis

Mr Macfarlane said the industry remained proactive in protecting regional communities.

This included a weekly telephone hook-up with more than 100 resource employees, the Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Department and regional mayors to plan ahead of any further restrictions from Queensland Health.

Mining has been labelled one of the "bright spots" in Australia's economic future, tipped to lead the country out of recession.

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During Thursday's economic update, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government had worked hard with state counterparts to keep the resources sector powering along during the pandemic.

"There is no question that much of the resilience of our economy through this period has been underpinned by the strong performance of the resources sector," he said.

The update predicted mining investment would jump 4 per cent in 2019-20, the first rise in seven years, before reaching 9.5 per cent this financial year.