Australia: Closer to home: Resources projects in Queensland face a reduction in fly-in/fly-out workers

Fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) workers have long been an integral aspect of the operational model of large resources projects. However, all that could be changing with the introduction of the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016.

On 8 November 2016, the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016 (SSRC Bill) was introduced into the Queensland State Parliament. The SSRC Bill seeks to limit the use of FIFO workers in the operation of large resources projects and ensure that local workers from nearby regional communities are employed in such projects.

The SSRC Bill will also amend the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) (AD Act) to prohibit discrimination against locals during the recruitment process for new workers, and to enable FIFO workers on existing projects to move into the local community if they so choose.


The SSRC Bill is part of the government's broader Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities (SSRC) policy, which aims to:

  • support resources communities to attract and retain workers and their families;
  • improve participation of local governments in the social impact assessment process for each project;
  • improve access for local businesses to resources project supply chains;
  • help protect resources worker health and wellbeing;
  • provide flexibility to respond to peaks and troughs in the resources sector; and
  • minimise any consequential increases in costs to both proponents and governments in the assessment and operation of resources projects.1


The SSRC Bill prohibits future large scale mining, petroleum and other resources projects from having a workforce exclusively made up of FIFO workers, if such a project:

  • requires an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld) (SDPWO) or the Environment Protection Act 1994 (Qld) (EPA); and
  • has a 'nearby regional community'. (Affected Future Projects)

A 'nearby regional community' is a town which:

  • is published on the Department of State Development's website;
  • has a population of more than 200 people; and
  • any part of the population of the town is within 100 km of the entrance to the Affected Future Project that is closest to the town's boundary.

A FIFO worker is defined broadly to include any worker who travels to a project by aeroplane or another means from a place that is not a nearby regional community.2

The prohibition against a 100% FIFO workforce will be an enforceable condition for the project under the SDPWO.

Prohibition primarily applies during operational phase of project

The prohibition will principally apply during the operational phase of an Affected Future Project, being the period from the start to the end of production of coal, minerals or petroleum for the project.

However, the Coordinator-General may also nominate certain Affected Future Projects for which the prohibition will apply during the construction phase and the operational phase. The Coordinator-General will publish the names of these projects on its website.

According to the explanatory notes for the SSRC Bill, the Coordinator-General will not take this step unless he/she considers it necessary after a comprehensive EIS process has been completed.

The owner of an Affected Future Project must immediately give the Coordinator-General written notice of:

  • the start of the operational phase of the project (including the date it started); and
  • any change of ownership of the project (including the name of the new owner, the previous owner and the date the management changed).

Prohibition not retrospective

The prohibition on hiring exclusively FIFO workers is not retrospective and does not affect existing approvals for resources projects. The prohibition will only apply to future hiring practices.


Under the SSRC Bill, future resources projects which are subject to an EIS process (regardless of whether or not they have a nearby regional community), will need to prepare a social impact assessment (SIA) as part of the EIS process.

The SIA must provide for:

  • community and stakeholder engagement;
  • workforce management;
  • housing and accommodation;
  • local business and industry procurement; and
  • health and community well-being.

The Coordinator-General may publish a guideline on the Department's website which states the details that must be included in a SIA.

The relevant local government must be consulted on the development of a SIA.

As part of the EIS for a project, the Coordinator-General may impose social impact conditions to manage the social impact of the project. The social impact conditions are enforceable conditions under the SDPWO and neither the Land Court nor the Planning and Environment Court have jurisdiction in relation to them.


The SSRC Bill provides that advertising for recruitment for Affected Future Projects should not prohibit residents of nearby regional communities from applying for those positions. For example, stating in an advertisement that a position is for FIFO workers only is discriminatory, as local applicants would be precluded from applying.


Unlike the prohibition on employing 100% FIFO workers, the amendments to the AD Act apply to both future and some existing resources projects.

The SSRC Bill amends the AD Act to impose advertising requirements on large resources projects:

  • for which after 30 June 20093 there has been either a publicly notified Coordinator-General report evaluating the EIS under the SDPWO or an assessment report given to the proponent about the submitted EIS under the EPA; and
  • that have a nearby regional community. (Specified Projects)

Under the AD Act, the definition of a 'nearby regional community' is the same as that relating to the prohibition on employing 100% FIFO workers.

Under the amended AD Act, it will be an offence if the owner of a Specified Project advertises, or otherwise recruits, workers for the Specified Project and the local resident is not offered work or is disadvantaged in the recruitment process because they are a resident of a nearby regional community.

It will also be an offence under the amended AD Act if the owner of a Specified Project terminates a worker's employment because the worker is or becomes a resident of a nearby regional community and chooses to travel to the project rather than fly-in/fly-out.

If a principal contractor contravenes the restriction, both the owner of the Specified Project and the principal contractor are jointly and severally civilly liable for the contravention, and a proceeding may be taken against either or both of them.

The SSRC Bill amends the AD Act such that the burden of proof is reversed, so that if a complainant alleges that:

  • they were not offered work during recruitment for a Specified Project because the complainant was a resident of a nearby regional community; or
  • their employment was terminated because they were or became a resident of the nearby regional community and chose to travel rather than be a FIFO worker,

then it is presumed that that action was taken for that alleged reason unless the project owner proves otherwise.


1 Explanatory Notes, Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016 (Qld), pages 1-2.

2 According to the explanatory notes for the SSRC Bill, it is intended that all workers associated with the establishment of petroleum wells will be considered to be operational workers for all provisions of the SSRC Bill

3 According to the explanatory notes, the date of 30 June 2009 was chosen because it coincides with the time that contemporary social impact assessment practice commenced in Queensland.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Chambers Asia Pacific Awards 2016 Winner – Australia
Client Service Award
Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (WGEA)

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions