Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) work practices are the most vexed issues around the Bowen Basin in Central and North Queensland because mine jobs are being taken by people who live in Brisbane while the residents of mining communities can’t find a job. The Queensland Labor Party, in government, granted 100 per cent FIFO to Daunia and Caval Ridge mines in the Bowen Basin without consideration to the consequences in the event of a downturn. As a result, locals who live near the mine have been barred from working there. The mines advertise positions with the requirement that workers must live within 100km of the Brisbane or Cairns airport. Discriminating against locals was particularly devastating for mining communities as the downturn in the resource sector began. Labor won back Queensland with a promise to end FIFO. Despite passing a law to prevent FIFO within a 100km radius of a regional community, the practice continues.
Changes to the discrimination Act are needed to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against a worker based on where the worker lives, other than where the worker’s location is an essential part of the job.