Motion passed for FIFO and DIDO workforce to be counted

Queensland councils have supported a push by Isaac Regional Council for a change to government funding to recognise both resident and serviced populations in resource communities, at the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) annual conference in Brisbane this week.

Mayor Anne Baker said Isaac region had won the support of the conference’s voting delegates on three motions put forward by Council:

• A review of funding for communities that permanently house fly-in, fly-out/drive-in, drive-out workforces, so that it is based on both resident and non-resident populations.

• To advocate to the State Government to engage with eligible councils before making changes to the eligibility criteria for funding under the Building our Regions (BoR) program.

• An amendment to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) allowing residents to operate generators 24 hours per day during disaster events.

Mayor Baker said present funding methodologies did not take account of non-resident populations, such as fly-in/fly-out workers, and change was needed to recognise both the resident and serviced population in regional communities which hosted such workforces.

“In Isaac we have a permanent population of about 21,000, but on any given day an additional 10,500 workers are also living in temporary accommodation and camps in or near our communities.

“For every two residents we have an additional ‘serviced’ resident who is not counted for the purposes of calculating government funding.

“That’s essentially a funding shortfall of 33 percent which places affected communities in a position of disadvantage.

“This issue needs to be addressed if we want sustainable regional resource communities. It is fundamentally an issue of fairness and equity.”