Abbott backs 100% FIFO plan for new mine
BHP Billiton Coal President, Dean Dalla Valle has been joined by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a ceremony to open Caval Ridge Mine.
Caval Ridge is one of two BHP coal mines which use workers pulled entirely from Cairns and Brisbane, excluding local jobseekers.
The mine will employ about 500 workers for the operational phase, with mine workers sourced from workers flying in-and-out of Brisbane and Cairns.
"As I understand it, the economics of this mine worked with fly-in fly-out, they weren't going to work on a different basis and I want this mine to go ahead," Mr Abbott said.
Mr Abbott said the mine, which has a projected 60-year mining life, would contribute $30 million to the Moranbah economy, but that wouldn't come in the form of a town-based workforce.
"It's important to have arrangements which work for investors and to have arrangements which work with staff. FIFO works for some people, it works for some mines," Mr Abbott said.
Recently, federal LNP members Michelle Landy and George Christensen said they were concerned with Caval Ridge's 100% FIFO workforce. Ms Landry stood by Mr Abbott yesterday, saying she was "a huge advocate for the coal industry".
"I think it is fantastic that we still have these major mining organisations that are interested in central Queensland," she said.
Speaking at the official opening of the mine, about 15km south of Moranbah, Mr Abbott said coal was "vital" and an "essential industry", laying the foundation for ongoing federal support for present and future coal projects.
"Coal is an essential source of energy," he said. "There can be no prosperity without energy."
Mr Abbott said his government was fast-tracking infrastructure to offset the downturn in the region.
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