Thursday, July 11, 2013

Final call for FIFO to the coalfields

The FIFO Cairns push was a key part of the strategy to revive the Far North economy and gain a slice of the resources boom. The coal industry in particular has been under pressure and as the resource sector transitions from development to production recruitment has been underway in Cairns for the Caval Ridge mine operated by BMA (BHP).

Caval Ridge coal mine near Moranbah was planned as a FIFO during a boom period and skills shortage in Central Qld. FIFO workers were to be recruited from Cairns and Brisbane. However things have changed quickly in the last year and BMA is under pressure to review FIFO: BMA sticks to Caval Ridge mine FIFO plans:
Mining company BMA says it will not review its plans for a wholly fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workforce for a new mine in central Queensland.
BMA is recruiting for the Caval Ridge mine near Moranbah but people currently living in the town are not allowed to apply.
There have been calls for the company to review its policy after the recent loss of thousands of jobs in other Bowen Basin mines.
Mind you there was a visitor from CQ to my local RSL bar last week, in Cairns for their first time ever to undergo assessment for Caval Ridge! However, the prospect of any further such FIFO in the Bowen Basin coalfields would now appear remote. Too late for Cavil Ridge which has already committed capital on a FIFO format. Macrobusiness has a few posts on the sharp slow down in the Bowen Basin: Queensland coal bust

Some softness has also shown up in the property markets of Mackay and Rockhampton. The rental vacancy rate in previously booming Mackay has increased to 6.5%. The Mackay Council budget today has responded by keeping homeowner rates low funded by a hike on rental investment properties.

I think I have posted previously that this common policy is something I find objectionable and without any valid justification that I have been able to find except the worst political motivations. Comments from the Mackay Mayor are interesting:
Cr Comerford said the increase was unlikely to result in more expensive rents.
"For the first time, tenants have choices... with a vacancy rate of 6.5%," she said.
"If owners try and pass it straight on they (tenants) can choose to go to another property."
I'm not sure anyone who has invested substantial money into Mackay residential property should be overwhelmingly impressed by the attitude expressed here?

Anyway, the Cape York Coal Rush is now looking much further away .........

Note: Some similar themes may also play out in PNG also a part of the Cairns economic strategy: LNG revenue fallout

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