The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has called for communities near mines to be prioritised in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, with large numbers of workers flying in and out.

Key points:

  • The QRC says it is on “high alert” with recent COVID cases
  • Its chief executive says the industry has offered government help on the vaccine rollout
  • He says the offers have been knocked back due to a shortage Pfitzer vaccines

A Northern Territory gold mine has been caught up in the latest cluster, with a number of workers contracting the highly infectious Delta strain and a lockdown in Darwin.

QRC chief executive Ian MacFarlane said the situation in the NT combined with a growing number of cases in Queensland had put the industry on “high alert”.

“We’ve had not only good practice but some good luck and, to date, we’ve had no infections in any of our mine sites in any of the regional areas.”

Prioritising the vaccine rollout

Mining companies have been using a raft of measures to stop the virus from coming onto their sites, including temperature testing at airports for fly-in, fly-out workers.

Mr MacFarlane said the industry had also offered help to speed up the rollout of the vaccine in the communities where companies operated.

“We have had discussions in terms of prioritisation of communities where we are working,” he said.

“That is the people who live there, and, to a degree, that is already being done.”

Ian Macfarlane in a hard hate and hi vis standing in front of a huge tyre.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane.(

Supplied: QRC

)

Mr Macfarlane said the offers were knocked back on the basis of a shortage of Pfitzer vaccines.

“We’ve offered to move vaccines around on our charter flights, we’ve offered to make facilities available, we’ve offered to make our health and trained medical staff available.

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