Article – Nationals in push to limit fly-in, fly-out workers in favour of locally-based workers

3 September 2014
ABC News
The West Australian Nationals will debate motions designed to reduce resource companies’ reliance on fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers at their annual conference this weekend.
The Nationals’ Kalgoorlie branch wants the party’s state council to call on the Federal Government to charge a fringe benefit tax on the free transport provided to workers flying into mine sites.
At the same time, it wants tax deductions for mining companies which provide accommodation for families in mining regions.
The party’s Karratha branch will call on the Federal Nationals to form a new policy encouraging resource companies to transition their workforce from FIFO to locally-based.
The Karratha branch, home of former WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls, wants this policy to become a key commitment for the 2017 state election campaign.
It says resource companies’ continued support for FIFO workforces is not helping the development of the Government’s Pilbara Cities plan.
Proposal for second major airport
The Nationals will also vote on a proposal for a second major airport servicing the Perth metropolitan area to be built in WA’s South West.
The Collie branch says the airport could be built between Mandurah and Bunbury, along the Forrest Highway.
The proposal includes extending the electric train system south of Mandurah to the planned airport, then on to the Bunbury CBD.
Collie-Preston branch president James Hayward says early conservative estimates put the airport construction at $100 to $120 million, which he says could come from Royalties for Regions funding.
“In terms of forward planning, there’s some reports out now from the Department of Transport saying ‘hey look we definitely need a second major airport’,” he said.
“So the second major airport’s got to be built so if it’s got to be built, let’s do it in regional WA.
“What are the options? Are you going to put it out at Bullsbrook? It’s still going to be a 40-minute drive and significantly longer if you live in Mandurah or south of the river.
“If you lived in Willetton or further south in Rockingham it would be a lot closer probably then travelling to the Perth airport.”
Liquor regulations under spotlight
The party is also putting three motions forward urging the Government to act quickly to tighten liquor regulations.
Its metropolitan branch will call on the State Government to support the contentious recommendation making it illegal for adults to supply juveniles with alcohol.
It will also put forward motions to amend the Act so the health impacts of liquor take priority over the interests of the liquor industry, and to tighten the public interest test when assessing applications for a liquor licence.
Nationals MP Terry Waldron, the minister responsible for liquor control, has defended the time taken to act on the 141 recommendations of an independent review into the Liquor Control Act, released in January.
Mr Waldron, who ordered the review, says Cabinet will announce its position by the end of the year.
There are also three urgent motions going before the conference, including opposing the flagged TAB sale and the prospect of higher gold royalties, along with a threat to withdraw the party’s support for the Government’s metropolitan council merger plans.
FIFO workers
Courtesy of ABC News