The Courier-Mail

Poll shows miners happy to commute

- JOHN MCCARTHY ‘RESOURCE SECTOR WORKERS ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR ARRANGEMEN­T.’

MINE workers prefer fly in, fly out and other forms of longdistan­ce commuting, according to an industry survey of almost 2000 workers.

The Queensland Resources Council survey showed more than four out of five employees would not change where they lived and saw their physical and mental health and lifestyle as good.

It also showed that since the last survey in 2011, workers were enjoying the lifestyle more. In 2011, 66 per cent wanted to maintain their accommodat­ion arrangemen­ts. This year it was 83 per cent.

The results are at odds with evidence to a parliament­ary inquiry headed by Mirani MP Jim Pearce, which is due to report to the Government within days on the state of FIFO.

That evidence suggested FIFO was destroying regional communitie­s and forcing people to move to the city to apply for jobs in their home town.

FIFO has also been blamed for drug use in mining camps and even suicides in Western Australia.

Michael Roche, QRC chief

QRC chief executive Michael Roche said: “If it (the parliament­ary committee) was doing its job, it should have run a survey like this.

“This does tend to contradict some of the opinions we have heard from the committee chair and some of its members.

“Workers are pretty comfortabl­e with their physical and mental health, whereas Pearce has been talking a lot about mental health challenges.’’

A second independen­t FIFO inquiry, headed by former Gladstone Ports boss Leo Zussino, has already submitted its report to the Government.

Mr Roche said the QRC survey covered residentia­l workers and non-residentia­l (FIFO) workers and was unambiguou­sly good news for the resources sector.

“What we see from this URS Australia survey is that the majority of Queensland resource sector workers are happy with their current arrangemen­t, either to live in towns with proximity to their work or live further away and commute,” he said. “But the important message from workers is they want to have the choice.”

Mr Roche said the industry was concerned that if the choice of accommodat­ion was taken away, the sector would lose skilled workers.

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