Oct 7, 2021


Oct 7, 2021

I am dismayed by Glencore’s decision this week to move to a week-on, week-off roster at Mount Isa Mines.

This is in addition to this roster being implemented at Glencore Zinc operations some years ago.

There is no doubt that mine employees, who have since Mount Isa’s inception, been integral to the growth and stability of our community will now be tempted by the FIFO and DIDO options that are more easily afforded to them by their new work structure.

This increase in FIFO, already a blight on our region, will impact every corner of our community from the local businesses to school enrolment numbers to funding for local services including our hospital and so on.

The practice of FIFO was declared a “cancer of the bush” during the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into it chaired by Tony Windsor a decade ago.

Since this time, the prevalence of it has only increased and locally it has been perpetually destructive on Mount Isa and Cloncurry.

My belief is that Government representatives of the areas impacted by FIFO have a responsibility to least try to stop its increase.

The biggest benefit to any town in a mining area for any new development is having the mine wages spent in the local town – this amounts to a real economic benefit.

A tiny fraction of the royalties being generated by our region’s mines make it back to the area, otherwise they all go to Brisbane.

So what is the point of having or promoting any mining development in the region if the jobs all go to Townsville or Brisbane?

This latest move by Glencore has to be called out for putting their commercial interests ahead of that of the town.

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.

There might be some locals that prefer this roster but the fact remains that this presents too much opportunity for mine workers to base themselves outside this region and take our jobs while living in the city.

On this basis I will always fight against these moves.