Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Dave Grills MLC has thrown his support behind efforts to better integrate operational fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workforces into regional host communities.
The Goldfields Voluntary Regional Organisation of Councils (GVROC) recently passed a resolution calling for current and proposed FIFO workforces located within 60 kilometres of an established population centre to be co-located and fully integrated into that community to the maximum extent possible.
The resolution follows similar moves by the Pilbara Regional Council to limit the use of segregated FIFO work camps in the vicinity of existing towns.
Mr Grills said that integrating FIFO workforces into existing towns was essential to building sustainable inland communities in regional WA.
“In earlier times, the resources sector primarily used residential workforces and this led to the growth of communities in regions like the Goldfields, Mid West and Pilbara,” Mr Grills said.
“The shift to the FIFO model has undermined established towns in regional WA to the point where their long-term viability is at risk.
“Supporting the continued development of the resources sector is a priority but it must be done in a manner that enhances regional communities, economically and socially.
“Governments should not sit by and allow these communities to wither while the significant wealth derived from nearby resources projects flows elsewhere.”
Mr Grills said that housing transient workforces within existing towns, rather than in isolated work camps, contributed to the economic and social wellbeing of communities.
“There is also evidence that accommodating workforces in local communities reduces the sense of isolation some FIFO workers feel and improves mental health,” Mr Grills said.
In addition to better integrating FIFO workforces, Mr Grills called for other measures to secure a brighter future for resource communities in the Mining and Pastoral Region.
“I believe there is a case for examining the introduction of legislation to limit the use of 100 percent FIFO workforces and ensure that local workers from nearby communities are employed on large resources projects,” Mr Grills said.
“Such legislation has already been introduced into the Queensland Parliament with bipartisan support.
“We also need to see meaningful changes at the Commonwealth level.
“I am profoundly disappointed that the Commonwealth Government has ruled out near term reform of the Fringe Benefits Tax as current arrangements incentivise the use of FIFO over residential workforces.
“Such reforms are required to support our efforts through Royalties for Regions to make regional WA a more attractive place to live, work and invest.”
For media enquiries contact Dave Grills MLC on (08) 90711 500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.