The proliferation of new FIFO camps under the McGowan Government is of growing concern to The Nationals WA.
Deputy Leader Jacqui Boydell has again raised the FIFO alarm after South African-based miner Gold Fields confirmed it was looking to build a new camp just 20km out of Leinster.
A majority of Gold Fields employees are currently accommodated at a camp in the town, 370km north of Kalgoorlie, while more than 30 reside in homes.
“FIFO is often referred to as a cancer of the bush, yet under the McGowan Government this cancer is being permitted – and seemingly encouraged – to spread,” Ms Boydell said.
“The latest proposal by Gold Fields for a new camp just 20 minutes from Leinster yet again highlights Labor’s impotence when it comes to protecting the interests of regional communities.”
As witnessed in Karratha by going against community wishes to allow a new 700-bed donga camp, the McGowan Government is abetting the spread of FIFO.
“The Nationals understand employing a FIFO workforce is sometimes unavoidable in a State the size of Western Australia,” Ms Boydell said.
“I have no issue with work camps in isolated areas where you have a workforce at a mine that is a large distance from a town or regional centre. However, where there is an established community, then it’s important to ensure we get best use of those communities, rather than having a work camp just up the road.”
Ms Boydell said all but removing the discretionary spending of hundreds of workers would have dire consequences for the Leinster community.
“The unfortunate reality of FIFO camps is that workers rarely venture out from behind the boom gate once they’re in place,” she said. “This new camp has the potential to ravage the Leinster economy.
“I am calling on Stephen Dawson and Kyle McGinn, Labor’s members for the Mining and Pastoral region, to step in and deliver a better deal for the Leinster community.”
The Nationals have a strong history of confronting major mining companies over housing workers in FIFO camps located in or near established communities. The party has a policy that no FIFO camps should be established within 60km of a regional centre.
The Nationals have created a petition calling on the Government to put protections in place to ensure FIFO camps are not built within 60km of established communities.