Local employment opportunities must be maximised in the North West after MMG’s Dugald River gained special project status from the State Government, Robbie Katter says.

The State Member for Mount Isa has called on jobs to be prioritised for locals in the Mount Isa and Cloncurry region as part of Mines Minister Anthony Lynham’s announcement.

“It’s wonderful that they are cutting red tape for Dugald River but, in line with Minister Lynham’s policy against FIFO, the local workers must see the benefits of this,” he said.

“If the State Government wants to give special consideration to mining projects, then it should be for those which give maximum benefit to the local community by way of jobs and putting money through the tills of our towns.”

“This privilege should be reserved for companies with a commitment to employing a local workforce and using local contractors.”

“I have had numerous discussions with mining companies where I’ve made it clear that local jobs must be prioritised if they want to operate in our region.”

“No mines will get my support unless they demonstrate that they choose local workers.”

Reducing FIFO has long been a focus for the KAP.

“From the 21 policies of the KAP’s 28-point list of priorities after the election last year, number nine was for 100% FIFO mining to be banned,” Mr Katter said.

“We are committed to ensuring locals get the work over FIFO employees.”

“FIFO should be the absolute last resort for employment conditions when there is no other option.”

“We have the skilled workers here and many of those are looking for work because of the mining downturn.”

Mr Katter said the State Government granting ‘prescribed project’ status of Dugald River was recognition of the North West Minerals Province’s bright future.

“It is a welcome acknowledgement of the importance of mining projects in the North West,” he said.

“Dugald River is one of the world’s largest and highest grade known undeveloped zinc-lead-silver deposits and a significant economic boost for the North West.”

“We need more government assistance to help get these projects off the ground and generate jobs for locals.”

“I’m also looking forward to seeing the benefits for traditional owners, the Kalkadoon People, through jobs and training.”