Resources minister Matt Canavan
Resources minister Matt Canavan

Push to move jobs back to the regions

THE Federal Government is looking at ways to stop robotics taking mining jobs away from regional centres.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan told the National Press Club on Wednesday that he was concerned that automation was moving jobs normally based in towns near the mines into the cities.

This is done with driverless trucks, which companies like Rio Tinto and BHP have started using. The trucks are controlled by workers in high-tech centres, like BHP's site in Brisbane.

Mr Canavan said the automation was not likely to reduce jobs in the industry, just where the jobs were located.

"There are things that can be done. I don't have the answers on automation. It is a more recent phenomenon,'' he said.

"One issue that has been more longstanding which is similar is fly-in, fly-out. People can be located anywhere and their job is in a regional area. State Government's have passed laws restricting that practice.

"In Queensland they have outlawed 100% FIFO, which I think it is right.

"We need to think about new technologies which are FIFO-like which might have an impact on regional jobs and what can be done to protect them.''