Change Discrimination Laws: FIFO Report

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Friday, October 9th, 2015
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Anti-discrimination laws should be amended to guard against “postcode discrimination”, a Queensland parliamentary inquiry into fly-in fly-out (FIFO) work arrangements has found.

Anti-discrimination laws should be amended to guard against “postcode discrimination”, a Queensland parliamentary inquiry into fly-in fly-out (FIFO) work arrangements has found.

The Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resource Committee tabled its report on long-distance employment practices on Friday, seven months after being tasked with investigating the issue.

Deputy chair Michael Hart said the finding was partly in response to a “strong feeling” in central and northern Queensland that FIFO workforces were taking a toll on local communities.

“We have recommended the government consider making changes to the anti-discrimination legislation to stop local workers being discriminated against on the basis of where they live for work,” chair Jim Pearce said.

“We have also made recommendations to strengthen the monitoring of compliance with the Coordinator-General’s conditions on resource projects.”

The Mirani MP said the committee had gotten a message “loud and clear” that people should be able to choose where they live for work.

The report also recommends mental health services should be provided for FIFO workers, as well as programs developed to help prevent mental illness and reduce the suicide risk amongst the workforce.

The government should also consider ways to persuade resource companies to hire locals as apprentices and trainees.

Employers should try to find accommodation for operational workers in the local community if they can, the report added.

Notably, the committee stressed it is not entirely opposed to long-distance commuting for workers and accepted it was sometimes necessary for remote project sites.

Retrospective recommendations to current project approvals would also not be supported, it said.

A ministerial response to the committee’s recommendations is required to be tabled in parliament within three months.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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