The Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has slated a proposal for a fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) police service to rural and remote Queenslanders as an insult to the needs of those communities and another “kick in the guts” to the future of the Outback.
“One only has to look at the damage a FIFO workforce has done to mining communities like Mount Isa to see that they contribute very little to the local community – economically or socially.
“They fly in, work their shifts, and then fly out taking their salaries with them and spending that on businesses outside of Mount Isa.
“Most of these workers have little or no involvement in the community through schools, sport or social clubs.
“A FIFO Queensland Police Service would undermine the bedrock that keeps these smaller communities going.
“An active Police presence by officers who have become embedded into these communities cannot be replaced by FIFO officers who may have little understanding of the cultural and social issues within those communities.
“If government-appointed professionals such as teachers, departmental staff or Police officers want the jobs on offer, they should be given quality housing.
“That system has been working for generations, and if people want only a metro lifestyle then they should think about that before they choose their careers or professions.
“There is rarely a shortage of teachers available for rural and remote communities because the expectation that they will be posted outside of the metro region is very clear at the start of their education and training.
“Already there are significant rental subsidies here, and the experiences gained in rural and remote Queensland is unique, and a posting outside of the large regional or metropolitan centres should not be undersold.
“The Premier’s Queensland Plan promotes decentralising the State by reinvigorating the regions. This hardly seems to follow his guidelines.
“If there difficulties in recruiting for certain areas, then I would encourage the Queensland Police Service to more actively hire from within those communities,” said Mr Katter.