Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The fly-in/fly-out competition

The Sunshine Coast Daily has reported on the competition between regions to become a fly-in/fly-out base for BHP's Caval Ridge coal mine near Moranbah.

BMA is looking hard at Cairns and North Queensland, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Toowoomba, as well as Brisbane.

“These regions are areas of high skills availability and, in some cases, higher unemployment,” the spokeswoman said.

“The assessment of regional sources for the fly-in, fly-out workforce includes feasibility, labour availability, practicality and impacts on communities of sourcing the fly-in, fly-out workforce from one or more of these centres.”
Presumably the skills shortage in mining is behind the move by BHP to source fly-in/fly-out labour for this project despite not being far distant from the established mining town of Moranbah. This has also drawn criticism from the local community. Previous similar labour arrangements in Central Queensland have usually drawn from nearby coastal centres such as Mackay.

Gold Coast is also making a strong move as a fly-in/fly-out base with a larger population and labour force to draw from. Cairns is noted for making a strong active effort for this business.

Queensland Resource Council CEO Michael Roche said the (Sunshine Coast) council should take a leaf out of the book of other councils.

“Some councils are actively wooing the mining companies. Take Cairns – they are flying a range of industry people in to show what they can offer. They are unashamedly bidding for this business.”

Note: It is frequently forgotten that Cairns has been a significant source of mining labour in the recent past. When KS first came to Cairns in 1991 it was one of the larger mining towns in Australia based on supplying labour for gold mines such as Kidston and Red Dome to the west, and Misima Island in PNG. The decline of gold mining in the nearby regions over recent decades has been significant despite the recent rises in gold prices.

1 comment:

  1. KS, that's really interesting about Cairns being a source of mining labour in the past. I've noticed there's a lot of chatter lately about Cairns becoming a FIFO hub and hopes that it helps gets Cairns out of its current slump. I'm still trying to get my head around whether the numbers of people (and the $ they bring in) would be large enough to make a major difference.