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Benefits for Queensland regional communities

From 30 March 2018, the 100% fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) prohibition and anti-discrimination provisions of the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017 (SSRC Act) will apply to large resource projects that have a nearby regional community.

These projects are detailed in a list of large resource projects published by the Coordinator-General.

A nearby regional community is one within 125 kilometre radius of a large resource project and that has more than 200 people, or a greater or lesser radius or smaller population decided by the Coordinator-General.

Large resource projects are those resource projects for which an environmental impact statement is required, or that hold a site-specific environmental authority and have 100 or more workers, or a smaller workforce decided by the Coordinator-General.

For the definitions of large resource project and nearby regional community, please refer to the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017.

The SSRC Act will benefit nearby regional communities by ensuring that large resource projects are providing:

  • fair employment opportunities to locals during the operational phase and allowing existing workers to reside in regional communities
  • providing social and economic benefits that safeguard the sustainability, health and well-being of the communities.

The 100% FIFO prohibition, in combination with anti-discrimination provisions and a new social impact assessment guideline, will deliver local and regional jobs as well as boosting flow-on social and economic outcomes.

Fair employment opportunities

The SSRC Act provides fair employment opportunities for locals from nearby regional communities during the operational phase of large resource projects.

Through its three mechanisms – 100% FIFO prohibition, anti-discrimination and social impact assessment – the Act ensures an appropriate balance will be struck between FIFO and local workers.

Existing workers will be given the choice of residing in regional communities, instead of commuting.

Discrimination against local workers is prohibited. If a person feels they have been discriminated against during the recruitment or termination process because they are a resident of a nearby regional community, the person may lodge a complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland.

The anti-discrimination provisions apply to large resource projects from commencement of the SSRC Act.

Social benefits

To strengthen benefits to local and regional communities, owners of new large resource projects, subject to an environmental impact statement process, will be required to complete a mandatory social impact assessment (SIA).

The SIA stipulates that project owners must engage with local communities and stakeholders, and ensure that local and regional communities benefit from the project through employment and business opportunities.

The SIA must cover:

  1. community and stakeholder engagement
  2. workforce management
  3. housing and accommodation
  4. local business and industry procurement
  5. health and community well-being

The workforce management part of the SIA must provide for prioritised recruitment from local and regional communities first, then recruitment of workers who will live in nearby regional communities.

As part of the SIA process, large resource project owners must prepare a social impact management plan, that details measures for the above five matters to manage impacts and capitalise on opportunities.

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Last updated: 09 Nov 2021