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In November 2016, Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government introduced the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016 in an attempt to ban new large scale mining and resource projects from engaging 100% fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workforces. The broader objective of the legislation is to ensure resource projects bring greater benefit to regional communities.

What do employers need to know?

The Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017 (SSRCA) was passed by state parliament with bipartisan support in August 2017.

Is your mining or resource project covered by the SSRCA?

Large resource projects captured by the SSRCA are as follows:

  • Mining or petroleum resource projects which require Environment Impact Statements under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 or State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971; and
  • Located within a 125km radius of a regional community which has at least 200 residents (unless otherwise determined by the discretionary power of the Coordinator-General); and
  • Employ at least 100 workers.

It is to be noted however that the SSCRA will not force large resource project operators to terminate FIFO workers on existing contracts.

What are the major changes for large resource projects?

  • The SSCA prohibits 100% FIFO workforces during the operational phase of a large resource project, and includes workers who commute and who do not reside in a nearby regional community.
  • There are onerous requirements on the advertising and recruitment for large resource projects. Large projects can no longer advertise or advise residents of nearby regional communities that they are ineligible for employment on projects, with penalties of up to $244,000 per offence for corporations who engage in this practice.
  • Social Impact Statements (SIA) are required for large resource projects; and must be prepared in consultation with local government, giving consideration to potential positive and negative impacts for the social environment of nearby regional communities. SIAs are to be approved by the Coordinator-General in conformity with EIS processes and are to address:
    • Community and stakeholder engagement;
    • Workforce management;
    • Housing and accommodation;
    • Local business and industry procurement; and
    • Health and community well being.

Subsequent legislative amendments

Large resource project owners are also required to comply with subsequent changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 that prohibit discrimination against persons in nearby regional communities in relation to working on the large resource projects (current or future) on the basis of location.

There have also been changes to the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) in relation to mineral development licensing requirements have been introduced to support the Queensland Government’s initiative to end underground coal gasification activities in Queensland.

Coordinator-General Role Change

Consistent with the above legislative changes, the Queensland Coordinator-General’s role has been modified to include the discretionary powers to include or exclude towns on a case-by-case basis from consideration under the SSRCA and whether or not to extend the FIFO ban to construction phases for new projects where suitable workforces may already exist.

Next Steps

At Macpherson Kelley, we regularly advise our clients on workforce issues in changing legislative landscapes. If you would like further information, please contact Principal Lawyer, George Haros.

 

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FIFO workforce changes are here

10 November 2017

In November 2016, Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government introduced the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016 in an attempt to ban new large scale mining and resource projects from engaging 100% fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workforces. The broader objective of the legislation is to ensure resource projects bring greater benefit to regional communities.

What do employers need to know?

The Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017 (SSRCA) was passed by state parliament with bipartisan support in August 2017.

Is your mining or resource project covered by the SSRCA?

Large resource projects captured by the SSRCA are as follows:

  • Mining or petroleum resource projects which require Environment Impact Statements under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 or State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971; and
  • Located within a 125km radius of a regional community which has at least 200 residents (unless otherwise determined by the discretionary power of the Coordinator-General); and
  • Employ at least 100 workers.

It is to be noted however that the SSCRA will not force large resource project operators to terminate FIFO workers on existing contracts.

What are the major changes for large resource projects?

  • The SSCA prohibits 100% FIFO workforces during the operational phase of a large resource project, and includes workers who commute and who do not reside in a nearby regional community.
  • There are onerous requirements on the advertising and recruitment for large resource projects. Large projects can no longer advertise or advise residents of nearby regional communities that they are ineligible for employment on projects, with penalties of up to $244,000 per offence for corporations who engage in this practice.
  • Social Impact Statements (SIA) are required for large resource projects; and must be prepared in consultation with local government, giving consideration to potential positive and negative impacts for the social environment of nearby regional communities. SIAs are to be approved by the Coordinator-General in conformity with EIS processes and are to address:
    • Community and stakeholder engagement;
    • Workforce management;
    • Housing and accommodation;
    • Local business and industry procurement; and
    • Health and community well being.

Subsequent legislative amendments

Large resource project owners are also required to comply with subsequent changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 that prohibit discrimination against persons in nearby regional communities in relation to working on the large resource projects (current or future) on the basis of location.

There have also been changes to the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) in relation to mineral development licensing requirements have been introduced to support the Queensland Government’s initiative to end underground coal gasification activities in Queensland.

Coordinator-General Role Change

Consistent with the above legislative changes, the Queensland Coordinator-General’s role has been modified to include the discretionary powers to include or exclude towns on a case-by-case basis from consideration under the SSRCA and whether or not to extend the FIFO ban to construction phases for new projects where suitable workforces may already exist.

Next Steps

At Macpherson Kelley, we regularly advise our clients on workforce issues in changing legislative landscapes. If you would like further information, please contact Principal Lawyer, George Haros.