Opinion

Former miner reveals devastating effect of FIFO in Qld

Bob Kohler
Bob Kohler Contributed

BY BOB KOHLER

BOWEN /COLLINSVILLE

After spending 22 years in the mining industry I am shocked to see how the industry has changed.

This FIFO or "flow in flow out" like a tide has had a devastating effect on towns and communities in Queensland.

The new breed of miner has no connection to towns or their work mates on site. The big mining companies' attitude is coal at all costs.

Back when I was in the industry most workers were on a first-name basis with the mine manager, now many of the miners would not know the workers on their shift.

Back then if there was a death on site the mine would shut down for 24 hours as a mark of respect, and we would donate a day's pay to their family.

Now if (God forbid) someone gets killed on site most of the FIFO miners would not have a clue who they were and would not feel compelled to be so generous as it would be no different than reading about the death in the paper.

Most times in the old days you knew the person or your kids went to school with their kids. Now it is just a job.

Many of the miners on FIFO would like to be home with their families but now the companies have the right to compel their workers to live in remote camps and they are not allowed to go into the towns at all.

The pollies of all persuasions are so governed by big companies that they dare not say no to them not supplying housing or hiring people with a local address to keep families together.

To me a family is like a cake recipe and if one of the ingredients is missing the cake is not quite right, so when mum or dad is missing for extended times we wonder why the family breaks down.

A poem:

THE GROWING ORANGE TIDE

(FLOW IN FLOW OUT)

As I sit on my veranda in a Queensland mining town

And I see all of these airplanes that are flying round and round

They are bringing in the miners to dig up our good coal

But they're nothing like the miners that we used to know of old.

For this new breed of miners have no inclination to reside

They are just here for the money and they do not share our pride

They are just a part of Queensland's ever growing orange tide.

Big companies have no thought for the miner or his wife

Of the trouble that this lifestyle causes or the marriages that are in strife

Of the kids that have no mum or dad, for weeks these children cried

They are just the innocent victims of our ever-growing orange tide.

Now these towns are slowly fading and the shops are doing it tough

Folks in the boom that bought their houses are now living rough

But the multi-nationals and the pollies, they just take it in their stride

For they still make their money from the growing orange tide.

As I sit here on my verandah the tide is ebbing slow

The buses all go rushing by with the miners who have made their dough

They're heading for the airport on the plane they catch their ride

Yes, it sure is sad to watch the flow of this growing orange tide.

Now years ago we had this man that was known as old JOE

And if he was still running Queensland I am sure he would stop this flow

For Joe he was a family man and he made the companies house the miner and his bride

I know old Joe would never have let them start, this growing orange tide

Topics:  bob kohler fifo industry letter to the editor mackay mining opinion poem


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