Discrimination against residents of regional communities

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The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 makes it unlawful to discriminate against residents of towns that are near large resource projects.

What is discrimination in resource projects?

This section of the Act is designed to protect residents of regional towns near large resource projects, or mines, from being excluded from working on the projects. It also enables fly-in fly-out workers to move into the local towns if they choose, without losing their job on the project.

These provisions were passed as part of broader reforms that prohibit large resource projects from employing a 100 per cent fly-in fly-out workforce. They are aimed at ensuring local residents have access to fair job opportunities.

There are three unique types of discrimination:

  • disadvantaging a local resident in a recruitment process;
  • not offering work during recruitment to a person because they are a local resident; and
  • dismissing a worker because they are, or became, a local resident and they choose to travel to the project other than as a fly-in fly-out worker.

The three types of discrimination are different to the traditional types of discrimination prohibited in the Act. To avoid confusion, the definitions of direct and indirect discrimination do not apply to these provisions.

In addition, workers and people applying for work at a large resource project can be asked where they live.

If you have experienced any of the discrimination listed above, you may be able to lodge a complaint with us at the Commission.

When and where is discrimination in resource projects unlawful?

A large resource project is one which has a workforce of over 100 people, and which either required an environmental impact statement or holds a site-specific environmental authority. There is a list of large resource projects covered by the law on the Coordinator-General’s website.

Read more about large resource projects, and find the list of which projects are included, on the Coordinator-General’s website

A person is a resident of a nearby regional community if their principal place of residence is within one of the towns listed for the project. Generally, the towns are within 125 km of the main access to the project and have a population of more than 200 people.

The Coordinator-General may decide the towns are those within a greater or smaller distance, or with a smaller population. Similarly, the Coordinator-General may declare a resource project with a smaller workforce than 100 to be a large project.

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