MINER BMA has claimed low unemployment rates in central Queensland during the mining boom meant the company could not staff some mines with locals.
Speaking at the Queensland Resources Council State of the Sector forum in Brisbane on Wednesday, BMA asset president Rag Udd said the company had not been able to find enough local employees in the Isaac region to staff the Caval Ridge and Daunia mines.
He said when the company was investigating building the mines unemployment in the Isaac region was close to 1% and flying staff in from major metropolitan centres such as Cairns and Brisbane was their only option.
"We had 700 jobs we couldn't fill. So we went to places with higher unemployment rates like Cairns and Brisbane," he said.
"We're actually really proud of that workforce."
Mr Udd said despite those two mines being all FIFO about 90% of BMA's workforce lived in the communities they worked in.
Unions and some Labor MPs have criticised BMA for staffing mines with only FIFO workers.
CFMEU Mackay district president Stephen Smyth said BMA should allow workers to live locally and work at Caval Ridge and Daunia.
"We've got members from Moranbah who have moved, or travel to, Cairns and Brisbane to work at Caval Ridge - which you can see from town," he said.
"It should be about real opportunity and choice."
At the lunch, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Labor government would continue to support the resource sector - and believed they could balance that support with their environmental commitments.
"We need vibrant and strong regional resource companies," she said.
She said Queensland jobs relied on the health of the resource sector.
- APN NEWSDESK
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