Employ locals or lose support: Katter

North West Queensland is failing in its fight against FIFO workforces and rural and remote towns could die as a result, State KAP Leader Robbie Katter has warned.

Mr Katter said while he welcomed prosperity in the mining industry across the state, he would not support projects that failed to demonstrate a commitment to driving locally-based workforces.

The Traeger MP said he was deeply disappointed after attending a community meeting run by Centrex Metals at the Jimberella Hall in Dajarra last week, in relation to the company’s Ardmore Phosphate Rock Project.

Members of the local community as well as miners from Incitec Pivot were also in attendance.

“I walked away very disappointed after hearing Centrex are planning an 86-man camp for a mine that is only 25km down the road from the struggling town of Dajarra,” he said.

“There was also no commitment made to any local workforce being engaged in the operations.

“It was acknowledged that there would be ‘attempts’ made however after the poor performance of MMG on local employment it’s hard not to be very cynical of many locals getting a gig on site.

“The fact is that if new mines starting up are not committing strongly to at least some content of local workforce, we will lose the fight completely to FIFO.

Mr Katter said he welcomed investment in the North West mining industry, but it was crucial locals were employed by projects wherever possible.

He said considering the majority of all mining royalties paid to the State Government were spent in the south-east, the most tangible way for the regions to benefit was through job creation.

“We welcome prosperity, but unless there are jobs in these projects all we are left with are holes in the ground, old demountable buildings and well-worn roads,” he said.

“We are all well aware that hardly any of the royalties that come from the region are returned so if we don’t get the jobs, what is the benefit?

“My assistance to any new mining enterprise in my electorate of Traeger is highly conditional upon their commitment to drive locally based workforces.”

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