Workers railroaded out of regional area due to FIFO

CENTRAL Queensland mayor warns workers are being "railroaded" out of the regions so they can join the ranks of fly-in, fly-out workers commuting back and forth to their home towns.

Anne Baker is the mayor of the coal-rich Isaac council west of Mackay, where BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance hopes to develop its Caval Ridge project with a 100% commuter workforce.

Deputy Opposition Leader and Member for Mackay Tim Mulherin told Parliament on Tuesday the LNP would oversee "postcode apartheid" if Caval Ridge relies solely on FIFO.

The project was approved under the former Labor government, of which Mr Mulherin was a member. 

In February last year, Mr Seeney said pulling workers from outside Central Queensland to operate Caval Ridge and the now-completed Daunia mine would spread mining wealth beyond the coalfields.

A total of 1050 workers were to be recruited from both far north and south-east Queensland - 250 from Cairns and 800 from Brisbane - for both Daunia and Caval Ridge.

Since 2012, thousands of coal mining jobs have been shed across Queensland as companies rush to save money as the world market for coal remains gloomy.

Mr Mulherin said Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney "had condemned local people in Moranbah and Central Queensland to the scrap heap" by refusing them access to these jobs.

"Populations will shrink, businesses will leave and the locale will become unviable," he said. "It's deplorable."

Cr Baker said only the Premier and state government could stop mining companies employing only commuting workers for their operations.

She said the trend was "the single biggest threat facing regional resources communities".

"As Mayor, I regularly hear heart-breaking stories of families being railroaded to leave our communities and commute from metropolitan areas to work right back here in the Isaac region," she said.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney did not respond to questions before deadline on Tuesday but has previously said the council was "scaremongering".

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