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Investment will ensure a resilient region, not elimination of FIFO

31-Oct-2014 Eliminating fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) practices from the resources sector is not the single answer to building a resilient region, according to a local industry representative group.

Resource Industry Network General Manager Julie Boyd said the current focus on FIFO as a drain on the region’s wealth was taking the focus from the real issue, which is the need for strong, united economic development through investment.

“The elimination of FIFO is not the solution to the challenges facing our region. Our issues are far more than 900 FIFO positions out of 25,000 plus permanent roles in mines. This is about a massive number of job losses throughout Queensland.  The solution is through improving costs so mines can return to profitability which is the only thing that will drive future expansion and investment”

“Our region needs economic development. We need investment in infrastructure to make our region an attractive place to live for workers at the mines. We also need investment in other key industries such as tourism and agriculture and we need to continue to push for a continuation of the Royalties for the Regions program, with a focus on resource communities.

“We need to demonstrate that this region is investment-friendly. We need to show that we are partner for improving the investments that companies make in our region in order to ensure that when employment opportunities become available they happen here.

Ms Boyd said the existing FIFO mines were established as a response to the continually escalating cost of labour and housing that existed during the boom period.

“The 100% FIFO practices at mines such as Caval Ridge and Daunia were a sign of the times. These mines may not even have gone ahead at all if it weren’t for the ability to source labour from outside the region. Many local companies will benefit from the ongoing work and support these mines will need in the years ahead.

“We don’t advocate 100% FIFO mines as the best way for the future.  We believe any new positions or replacement positions should be able to be sourced locally. With the skills, accommodation and cost pressures relieved in the region, we advocate demonstrating how this region provides a more sustainable and economical alternative to FIFO.  This will make FIFO a tool to mitigate peak demand not replace the value local communities add to sustainable mining” she said.