FIFO, Flexibility, and the Future: Does Becoming a Regional FIFO Source Community Present Opportunity or Burden?

FIFO, Flexibility, and the Future: Does Becoming a Regional FIFO Source Community Present Opportunity or Burden? Conference Paper

37th Annual Conference of the Australian & New Zealand Regional Science Association

  • Author(s): Fiona McKenzie, Aileen Hoath
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Regional Science Association

Abstract: The resources boom in Australia resulted in considerable competition for both skilled and unskilled labour, particularly in remote mining areas. Shortage of skilled labour led mining companies to source workers from far afield, while the high incomes created by a tight labour market drew labour from across the country through long distance commuting arrangements such as fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in, drive-out (DIDO). While much recent literature has focussed on the impacts on receiving communities of these long distance commuters, less attention has been given to the experience of source communities. This paper compares the situation between two regional towns in which long distance commuters reside. The first, Busselton in Western Australia, is among several chosen by Rio Tinto to be labour source communities. The second, Stawell in Victoria, is looking to long distance commuting as a response to the impending closure of their existing gold mine. Hence the case studies offer insights, not only about source communities' experience of FIFO and DIDO, but also a comparison between the bottom-up approach of Stawell in trying to establish FIFO with the experience of Busselton which has been chosen (top-down) by a mining company for labour sourcing. This paper will consider the opportunities the Rio Tinto employment strategy offers to rural and regional communities which are keen to retain their population. The paper will highlight some community development challenges which have been encountered and how these might be addressed, especially by towns such as Stawell which is seeking to promote itself as a source community for skilled mining employment.

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Fiona McKenzie, Aileen Hoath, 2013, FIFO, Flexibility, and the Future: Does Becoming a Regional FIFO Source Community Present Opportunity or Burden?, Conference Paper, viewed 17 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=2945.

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