FOFI the new FIFO: report
A WA Planning Commission report has flagged a regional mentality shift away from fly-in, fly-out work culture, pointing to Kalgoorlie-Boulder as a hub for fly-out, fly-in staff.
Regional communities have long had an uneasy relationship with FIFO, with phrases such as “cancer of the bush” used to argue the model stifles regional development.
But the Goldfields-Esperance Regional Planning and Infrastructure Framework, released today, outlines opportunities in pro- moting Goldfields-Esperance communities as sources of labour.
The idea is reiterated later in the report under activity centre strategies, highlighting the need to encourage workers to live in the region permanently.
New plans to market KalgoorlieBoulder and other Goldfields towns as FOFI bases follows the announcement of a Federal Government cost-saving measure that removed tax offsets for FIFO staff.
Offsets were changed in the Federal Budget, putting a stop to FIFO workers living in Perth claiming a tax benefit of up to $1173 a year.
The offset was designed to help out with the costs of living in remote areas, with those in most Northern Goldfield towns able to claim the highest rebate.
City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor Ron Yuryevich called plans to market Kalgoorlie-Boulder as a permanent workers’ hub a good idea.
“The idea that Kalgoorlie-Boulder can be used as a base is ideal, companies can source people that are experienced in the mining industry and a lot of people prefer the country lifestyle rather than a city lifestyle,” he said.
“It takes the pressure off Perth airport, for argument’s sake, travel time means less stress on the workers, it’s got to be a good idea.”
Also listed in the planning report, which has been earmarked as a “critical driver” in identifying the region’s economic potential, were several proposed or potential projects in the region, including those at Nova, Mt Thirsty, Goongarrie, Scotia and Siberia.
The introduction to the planning framework came with a disclaimer: that any projects included in the document should not be taken as a commitment for Government funding, that individual projects would be subject to normal budgetary and treasury processes.