Katter's Australian Party leader and Member for Traeger, Robbie Katter, has called on the Queensland government to launch a parliamentary inquiry into the impact of Fly In Fly Out employment in regional and rural communities.
According to Mr Katter, it had been over a decade since anyone had looked into the impacts of FIFO work in rural communities and believed the time to act was now.
"[With FIFO employment] you can expect to see school enrolments stall and instability amongst the small business community," he said.
"Traditionally, Mount Isa Mines has drawn workers to settle in our community which creates a positive ripple effect for our local economy and social engagement.
"The current legislation that regulates FIFO and DIDO work is practically useless, we urgently need an inquiry to reconsider the current legislation and seek out a more practical solution that benefits both the mining sector and the communities."
In a bid to improve productivity in the Mount Isa Copper Operations, Glencore Australia had recently proposed a new seven-day roster which would take over from the current four-days on, four-days off model.
Mr Katter said he was disappointed to see Glencore adopt FIFO arrangements and believes the move will have severe impacts on the entire community and local economy of Mount Isa.
"I understand the difficulties being experienced by all mines with critical labour shortages following the pandemic, but this decision comes at a long-term social cost," he said.
Mr Katter said this option presented too much opportunity for workers to base themselves outside of the region.
According to a Glencore spokesperson, the 7 days on, 7 days off roster which has been in place at George Fisher Mine for several years, has improved productivity and supports a greater work-life balance.
"We believe Mount Isa Copper Operations would also benefit from the introduction of the same schedule, the workers are currently on a 4 days on, 4 days off roster," the spokesperson said.
Mount Isa Mines are seeking to align the primary workforce rosters at the Mount Isa Copper Operations and George Fisher Mine.
"The alignment of rosters would also allow workers to transfer between the two sites more easily, providing greater operational flexibility and opportunities for the long term economic sustainability of our business," the spokesperson said.
"We recognise any change to rosters may cause some disruption for workers and their families, and concern in the community.
"We want to reassure people that we remain committed to operating a safe, responsible and efficient business that continues to support the community."
Feedback is being sought from affected personnel about the proposal over the coming weeks, with a formal decision to be made in mid-November.
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