Unions oppose temporary mine accommodation for Singleton

MINING unions are railing against a plan to build a $100 million development to house outside workers for nearby Singleton coal mines in New South Wales.

Lou Caruana

The proposed 1500-unit temporary accommodation camp would lead to social problems and undermine local jobs, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union northern district secretary Grahame Kelly said.

“Camps of this nature are closely associated with fly-in fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in drive-out (DIDO) operations,” he said.

“While this might be appropriate in remote regions, Singleton is a family-based community.”

The camp will give local mines the option to fly in workers from other parts of Australia – a way to get around employing locals and bypass the industrial concerns of workers, he said.

“We know there are mine operators around here who would jump at this opportunity,” he said.

“In the CFMEU’s experience Australia-wide, these kinds of large ‘worker accommodation villages’ are associated with a strain on local services.”

The MAC group proposal is before the Singleton Council in New South Wales.

The MAC’s accommodation village will form part of the total future accommodation solution for Singleton, taking predicted pressures off future housing and rental prices to allow local families to continue to live and work in the area, its managing director Peter McCann said

“The concerns expressed by the CFMEU are not borne out by our 18 years of experience,” he said.

“The MAC has nine existing villages Australia wide that clearly demonstrate that positive benefits and job opportunities are delivered for communities.

“If Singleton and the surrounding mines want to continue to grow and provide economic benefits to the region they will eventually need more accommodation.

“Our experience Australia-wide shows that communities will suffer when there is not enough, and variety of, accommodation. When this demand for accommodation exceeds the local housing supply, locals suffer.”