Aussies want a fair go
PLANS for enterprise migration agreements that would allow mining companies to fly overseas labour directly to mines have angered Australian workers unable to get a foot in the door.
And Ray Brown, mayor of Western Downs Council based in Chinchilla which is fast becoming Australia's energy capital, said yesterday, 457 visas should be an action of last resort.
Chinchilla's privately-leased showground is now home to both Surat Basin mine workers and those who have turned up in the hope of finding a job.
The Federal Government has acknowledged receipt of submissions from miners wanting bulk temporary migration agreements.
The proposed agreements would be limited to companies with resource project capital expenditure greater than $2 billion and a peak workforce of 1500.
The move has angered Doonan father Mark Freeman who has spent more than $6000 securing a dump truck licence and mine induction certificate.
He met Queensland Mines Minister Stirling Hinchliffe late last week seeking an explanation as to why the so-called "mining boom" jobs explosion have failed to materialise.
Mr Freeman said he was told the jobs were coming, but they may still be two years away.
Mr Brown said Chinchilla's showground was being used to take the overflow from the existing caravan park to provide accommodation for mine workers and those looking for jobs.
"There are a lot arriving here who think a job will arrive on their doorstep," he said.
"I really feel for people who are spending money on course. Everyone wants a foot in the door. Being out here is seen as a way to do that."
Mr Brown said there were jobs available in Western Downs, an area comprising 23 towns and 99 small communities.
Unemployment is under 2%, the council has between 30 and 50 jobs it can't fill and business houses and the service sector are desperate for workers to fill vacancies left by workers deserting to the mines.
"There is enormous growth potential here," Mr Brown said.
"The Surat Basin has a population of about 34,000 with 2% unemployment and 18,000 jobs are being created here.
We've approved four new power stations in the past six months and we already have six.
There's the $1.4bn Solar Dawn project and a $1.2b wind farm to be built.