Permanent work opportunities for locals is among the key recommendations to help regional communities benefit from mining in a government report handed down this week.
Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen, said the report, Keep it in the Regions: Mining and Resource Industry Support for Businesses in Regional Economies, could revolutionise regional centres if the recommendations were adopted.
“The parliamentary committee behind this report has listened to all the concerns raised by people living in regional communities, in particular around Central and North Queensland,” Mr Christensen said.
“The committee heard how big miners had extended payment terms, crippling local small business and their ability to grow and employ locals.
“We heard about the impact of casualisation of the mining workforce and the impact of Fly-In-Fly-Out workforces on families and local communities.
“All these issues have been addressed and the recommendations set out concrete ways for the regions to get a better deal.”
Recommendations from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources report include:
- Support for small businesses dealing with mining and resource companies;
- Legislation of maximum payment terms;
- Prohibiting unfair contract terms in business to business contracts;
- Amending the Fair Work Act to prohibit replacement of directly-employed, full-time workers with “permanent casuals”;
- Removing incentives for companies to use fly-in-fly-out workforces;
- Returning a proportion of mining royalties to communities in the mining regions; and
- Giving local businesses a fair opportunity to secure business with big companies.
Mr Christensen said the report dealt comprehensively with the issues that affected people in regional communities.
“What we have now is a roadmap for how to ensure regional communities receive net benefits from the mining and resource sector,” he said.
“Mining provides the biggest export earners for the country, with taxes and royalties benefitting all Australians but too often the negative impacts of mining are felt locally and that’s what this report addresses.”