BMA attacked for ‘ignoring’ region’s needs

AFTER thousands demanded access to jobs offered by two Central Queensland mines, a powerful mining union has attacked BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance for ignoring the needs of those in the region.

BMA is recruiting 1050 jobs for its new Caval Ridge and Daunia projects being developed near Moranbah, west of Mackay, calling for 250 from Cairns and the remaining 800 from Brisbane.

Its aim was to target areas that were not directly benefiting from the mining industry, rather than its traditional pool of workers from Central Queensland. The initial announcement in February was backed by Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney.

In March, the Daily Mercury reported 18,000 applied for the jobs.

That number has now eclipsed 30,000, frustrating Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union national president Tony Maher.

"BHP is out spruiking the virtues of recruiting from capital cities while ignoring Bowen Basin locals," Mr Maher said. "It is the communities of Central Queensland who bear the brunt of the region's mining boom with high cost of living, unaffordable housing and clogged and dangerous roads.

"They deserve the job and training opportunities that mining can deliver."

Central Queensland training firms backed the union's criticism saying many had worked to score mining jobs but were now ignored because of their location.

The union attacked the mining giant as part of its "Let's Spread It Around" campaign.

A spokeswoman for BMA said that was what the company was trying to do.

She said BMA would still mostly rely on workers living near its sites, but would cast the net further because its growth "should be shared with other regions of Queensland".

The fly-in, fly-out workforce arrangement - which would include all those at Caval Ridge and Daunia - also allowed workers to choose how to live and work.


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