Mine union outraged at fly-in, fly-out agreement

The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) has slammed the Queensland Labor government over its decision to approve a 100% fly-in, fly-out workforce for the Caval Ridge coalmine near Moranbah, central Queensland.

The union has about 10,000 members in the state’s coalmines. It said it would fight the Bligh government's decision in the lead up to the Queensland election, due early next year.

“We will ensure our members and the communities they live in are not left behind,” said CFMEU state secretary Jim Valery, the September 7 Courier Mail reported.

The union was reacting to the government’s agreement to allow the mine’s owners — BHP-Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) — to employ all of its workforce of 500 on fly-in, fly-out contracts.

The state government says BMA must also build 400 homes in the Bowen Basin, including 160 in Moranbah.

Valery told the Courier Mail: “The government’s media statement on their approval of the BMA 100% fly-in, fly-out application is completely misleading, and I’m personally very disappointed in their arrogant and out-of-touch behaviour on this entire process.

“It’s clear this government just isn’t listening to regional leaders and communities. Many communities feel they are banging their heads up against a wall of Bligh government spin.

“This decision will open the floodgates for forced 100% fly-in, fly-out operations across the Queensland industry, promoting unsustainable population imbalances ... between residents and non-residents, and an explosion of mega temporary accommodation camps.”