Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) asset president Stephen Dumble defended a decision to staff two new Bowen Basin mines solely with fly in, fly out workers at the official opening of the recently upgraded Moranbah Airport today.

Mr Seeney said State Government wanted to ensure a "balance" of FIFO and local workers to "spread" the economic benefits of the mining industry across the state.

He said State Government would continue to invest in FIFO options and community infrastructure.

"People that advocate at either end of the argument are wrong," he said.

Mr Dumble, whose company announced yesterday that 250 Cairns and Brisbane residents would make up 100% of staff at the new Daunia and Caval Ridge mines, said FIFO workers helped reduce the pressure on regional mining communities.

Mr Dumble said low unemployment rates in the region showed locals weren't missing out on mining jobs taken up by FIFO workers.

Mr Dumble and Mr Seeney were both in Moranbah for the unveiling of the new airport facility which was reported to have cost $46m.

"Moranbah's airport facility is not on par with many other regional centres and the upgrade will not only provide for existing needs but will meet the needs of growth for the region for a considerable period into the future," Mr Seeney said. 

The upgraded airport can support an estimated 110 flights a week, Mr Seeney said. 



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