The socio-economic impacts of long distance commuting (LDC) on source communities

The socio-economic impacts of long distance commuting (LDC) on source communities Report

  • Author(s): Aileen Hoath , Fiona Haslam McKenzie
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Curtin University and Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation

Abstract: The current mining boom has brought considerable wealth throughout Australia, but the benefits are not distributed evenly. The majority of Australian mining activities are in remote locations where demand for labour usually exceeds local supply, requiring a long-distance commuting (LDC) workforce from source communities through fly-in/fly-out (FIFO), drivein/ drive-out (DIDO) and bus-in/bus-out (BIBO) work arrangements. There has been considerable interest in how LDC impacts on the host community (where a person works), and on workers and their families. Yet there has been limited focus on how LDC impacts on the source community. This research examines the socio-economic implications of LDC for two source communities in regional Western Australia: Mandurah in the Peel region and Busselton in the South West region. They are distant from mining operations, but now home to significant or growing LDC populations. This research project examines the socio-economic implications of long distant commute (LDC) workforce arrangements in the resources sector for two ‘source’ or ‘resident’ localities, (rather than on the host communities where mines operate), and communities in regional Australia. They are distant from mining operations, but now home to significant or growing LDC population cohorts. Focusing on these two Western Australian case study sites, Mandurah in the Peel region, and Busselton in the South West region, the project has employed a multi method, iterative approach to identify and document the size and distribution of the LDC cohort in each case study area, and the associated diverse but interrelated effects and issues. Between late 2012 and early 2013 the researchers conducted, desktop research, and analysis of existing publically available data sets, semi- structured interviews and focus groups with service providers and LDC participants, and an on-line survey again targeting LDC workers and spouse. To generate a broad understanding of the socio-economic costs and benefits, and associated infra-structure implications, for local governments, LDC participants, their families, and the wider community, it has examined a variety of perspectives: worker mobility, occupations, family structures, socio- economic status, expenditure and investment patterns, levels of education, training and work history; the entrenched and emerging needs in resident communities; and the linkages, distances and gaps between corporate mining operations, government and non service agencies and resident localities and communities. The study also explored governance partnerships between local and state government, non -government organisations, SMEs and the mining sector for strategic and targeted planning purposes and for the provision of appropriate services and infrastructure. Through these diverse means it has constructed a multi-layered understanding of the complexities of the economic and social arrangements and relationships that sustain a LDC workforce within its place of residence, the linkages and disjunctions between place of work and place of residence, and the benefits and challenges for the differently positioned actors. It provides insights that can assist in responding to and enhancing corporate and community obligations to maximize the economic and social benefits from LDC workers in the resource sector.

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Aileen Hoath , Fiona Haslam McKenzie, 2013, The socio-economic impacts of long distance commuting (LDC) on source communities, Report, viewed 06 December 2023,

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