In August 2017, the State Government passed the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017 which introduced new laws banning the hire of 100% Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) workforces on large scale resource projects situated within a 125km radius of regional communities in Queensland.
The laws have been introduced to ensure local workers from nearby communities are not discriminated against and are employed as priority over FIFO workers in the operation of large resource projects. The laws follow a number of government and independent reviews and inquiries held into FIFO work practices in regional Queensland and the economic impact these practices have on both resource and nearby resource communities.
The Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act introduce new laws that:-
- Prohibit the employment of a 100% FIFO workforce for the operational phase of large resource projects located near regional communities.
- Prohibit advertisement of positions for workers for the project in a way that excludes residents of nearby communities from applying for the positions.
- Prohibit discrimination against the employment of residents living in nearby regional communities when recruiting workers for the project.
- Prohibit the employer from terminating the workers employment because the worker is or will become a resident of a nearby regional community and chooses to travel to and from the project other than as a FIFO worker.
What is a large resource project?
A large resource project is a project that has or is predicted to have a workforce of over 100 or more workers.
What is a considered to be a nearby regional community?
A nearby regional community is a town that has a population of more than 200 people and is situated within a 125km radius of the main access to the project.
Can I Drive-In Drive-Out?
The new laws banning FIFO also capture workers who drive-in Drive-out (DIDO) to and from these projects. What this means is, regardless of your mode of travel whether it be by plane, car or bus, if you live outside of the 125km radius of the main access to the project you be considered a FIFO worker.
What about Construction and Demobilisation of the Project?
The prohibition against the employment of a 100% FIFO workforce only captures the employment of workers during the operational phase (or life) of the project. The operational phase encompasses the period from the start to the end of production of coal, mineral or petroleum for the project. It does not exclude owners of large resource projects hiring a FIFO workforce for the construction and demobilisation phase of the project.
Will the New Laws Only Apply to Future Large Resource Projects?
No – the laws will apply to all existing and future large resource projects with a nearby regional community, regardless of when the project was approved. For existing projects, there will be a six month transitional period allowing the owners of these projects sufficient time to transition their workforce arrangements and comply with the prohibition.
The Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act has not yet been enforced, but it likely to come into effect in the very near future.
If you have any concerns regarding how the introduction of these new laws may affect you, please do not hesitate to contact our office and speak with one of our experienced solicitors.