Recruitment agency Chandler MacLeod is advertising the positions with a condition that has angered FIFO opponents.
Recruitment agency Chandler MacLeod is advertising the positions with a condition that has angered FIFO opponents. FILE

Fury over the 'great regional job robbery'

THEY'RE the trainee jobs the Bowen Basin is desperate for, but they come with a hitch - you must live within 100km of Brisbane Airport.

Recruitment agency Chandler MacLeod is advertising the positions with a condition that has angered FIFO opponents.

The ad states that successful applicants must live with 100km of the Brisbane Airport. The ALP's endorsed candidate for Burdekin, Mike Brunker, says it's another reason there needs to be an "end to delays" to a Bill that would restrict fly-in, fly-out operations in Queensland.

While the advertisement did not reveal the Bowen Basin client, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance confirmed to The Daily Mercury it was looking for eight FIFO apprentices and truck operator trainees in addition to the 42 people it is seeking as part of its 2018 regular apprenticeship program.

Locals could make the 42.

Mr Brunker said of the move: "It's an absolute disgrace that kids living just kilometres from a mine site have to move within 100km of Brisbane airport to get a start in the mining industry.

"Now companies aren't just removing the choice from workers to live locally, but they are pushing kids into living in work camps."

But BMA has hit back at the accusations it was dropping kids into workers' camps.

"At a minimum, candidates must have graduated from Year 12 to be considered, and mature-age candidates are also being considered (for the FIFO roles)," a spokesperson said.

"Separately, in partnership with BMA, several labour hire providers are recruiting trainee operators who are new to the mining industry for truck operator roles."

Mr Brunker has called for the Strong Sustainable Resource Communities Bill to move forward to address the issue of casualisation of the workforce and 100% FIFO operations. The Daily Mercury reported earlier this month that the Bill was due to go before Queensland Parliament on August 8.

And that's what has Member for the Burdekin Dale Last accusing Mr Brunker of cherry picking information for his own political ends.

"Mr Brunker needs to get his terminology correct, that being the difference between trainees and apprentices," the LNP MP said. "Brunker states that 'kids living just kilometres from a mine site have to move within 100km of Brisbane'. It is incorrect. That's just scaremongering.''

Long-time resident and Isaac Regional Council mayor Anne Baker said the advertisement was a "kick in the guts" for communities in the Bowen Basin.

"This latest act, where companies are seeking to fill trainee positions in resource communities with people only based within 100km of Brisbane, is a mind boggling," Cr Baker said.

"To see postcode discrimination so blatantly and arrogantly advertised is infuriating.

"It's absolutely heart wrenching to see our youth and our people robbed of employment opportunities."

But BMA said its regular apprenticeship program was focussed on regional applicants with assessment centres in Mackay, Blackwater and Moranbah.

The BMA Apprentice Program for 2018 is at the 'assessment centre' phase, with candidates being invited for interviews during August to fill 42 apprenticeships, starting in early 2018. They are 4-year programs at the company's residential mines. More than 1000 candidates applied. Assessment centres will be run in Moranbah, Blackwater and Mackay.



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