The Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill
2016 was introduced in the Queensland Parliament on 8 November
2016. It aims to promote the employment of workers from regional
communities situated close to large resource projects and in turn
increase employment rates and cash flow in those communities. The
Bill aims to achieve this by requiring large resource projects to
source some of the workforce from nearby regional communities.
"A large resource project" (LRP) is
one that requires an Environment Impact Statement.
The restriction will apply if there is a "nearby regional
community", that is a locality having a population of more
than 200 people within 100km of the project.
"A FIFO worker" is a worker who travels to work by
any means from a place that is not a nearby regional
The Bill does not propose a specific maximum limit for the FIFO
The owner of the LRP will be required to prepare a Social
Impact Assessment as part of the Environment Impact Statement,
addressing workforce management, housing and accommodation, and
health and community management, as well as making a commitment to
significantly lower the proportion of FIFO workers on the
The restriction will generally only apply to the operational
phase of the project but may be extended to the construction phase
in some instances.
While the purpose of the Bill in improving the economy of
regional communities is commendable, it raises some issues for LRP
Hiring and recruitment policies;
Fatigue management; and
The Bill proposes to amend the Anti-Discrimination Act
1991 to prohibit LRP employers from discriminating against a
job applicant or worker on the basis that he or she either is a
resident of a nearby regional community or becomes a resident of a
nearby regional community. LRP employers should consider whether
any of their current hiring policies inadvertently fall foul of
Fatigue management is not a new issue within the resources
sector. However, the Bill may see an increase in the number of
workers who travel up to 100km, probably by private vehicle, before
and after each shift rather than at the beginning and end of a
rostered swing. This increases the risk of workers driving while
fatigued. In response to that increased risk, employers should:
Provide workers with fatigue management training that addresses
fatigue warning signs, risks associated with driving while fatigued
and measures that can be taken to alleviate fatigue;
Reiterate fatigue management training regularly by including it
as a topic in toolbox talks or other communications with
Ensure workers are offered opportunities and facilities to rest
between the end of a shift and the journey home;
Consider changing the way shifts are structured; and
Consider providing transport between the nearby regional
community and the worksite.
Most resource sector employers are conscious of the project
based nature of the work and make a genuine attempt to re-deploy
workers to new projects at the completion of a project. The Bill is
likely to make re-deployment more challenging and employers may
need to consider offering workers re-employment assistance at the
end of a project where re-deployment is not possible.
The Bill has not yet been enacted and may yet undergo amendment
before enactment. We will keep you informed of any progress in this
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