Meeting of mines on Coast

REGIONAL councils competing for lucrative fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) deals with Queensland mining companies met on the Gold Coast yesterday.

Mayors and acting mayors from the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Whitsunday, and Cairns councils attended the summit.

Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke said FIFO was central to the discussions.

“I must admit I was a little sceptical that it was a flag waving exercise,” Cr Clarke said.

“But there were senior players in the mining industry talking about the skill issues.”

Cr Clarke said there was an understanding between council representatives.

“We all recognise there was a need for skilled workers,” he said.

“I understand that mining towns are worried about FIFO, but these construction workers are needed now.”

Cr Clarke said a career expo planned for the Gold Coast in October would highlight mining communities to help increase the appeal of living in rural towns.

They met with mining executives from the state's leading resource operators, such as Macarthur Coal, BHP, Rio Tonio and Arrow Energy.

Arrow Energy exploration vice president Tony Knight said FIFO was part of the industry and it was a widespread practice.

Mr Knight said the reason FIFOs were on the radar of places like the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast was because “there has been a transition in the workforce”.

“I'm conscious that people work half the time and the other time they want to live in nicer areas,” he explained.

Mr Knight said FIFO went a long way in retaining a workforce.


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