Inquiry into impact of FIFO 'years too late'
AN INQUIRY into the impact of fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) workforces on mining communities has come too late, according to some.
Moranbah Retailers Association president and Leading Edge Telecom business owner Peter Finlay said Wednesday's in-depth report, Cancer of the Bush or Salvation of our Cities, which details the effects of FIFO on communities such as Moranbah, should have been completed years ago.
"Nobody is against FIFO per se but to make it compulsory ... the impact on businesses and the community - it would be detrimental," Mr Finlay said.
"A lot of contractors have left (Moranbah) in the last three or four months.
"The downturn in the coal mining industry ... there's no reality to it, there's millions of dollars being spent here."
Mr Finlay said he agreed with the report's description that FIFO was a "cancer" to some regional communities.
"I believe it's a pretty good description," he said.
"I've lived here for 33 years.
"There are obviously a lot of issues here."
Mr Finlay said FIFO wasn't to blame for businesses closing in Moranbah.
"I don't think businesses have closed because of anything to do with FIFO or the coal industry," he said.
"I don't think too many businesses closed here; I think more have opened here."
Mr Finlay said he thought Moranbah had a great future.
"One thing happening is the house and rent prices are becoming cheaper, so families can move back into town."
MORANBAH woman Peta Weaver and her family will relocate to Yeppoon later this year when her husband Gareth starts FIFO work.
Mrs Weaver said she'd spoken to women who enjoyed the FIFO lifestyle but also liked spending quality time with their partners.
"Some women think it's great," she said.
"They get to do their own thing when their husband is away and then when he gets back they get to share time with him again."
Mrs Weaver said she wasn't worried about her lifestyle changing.
"I'll miss him when he travels," she said. "But I don't have a problem with FIFO, as a wife.
"We have three little kids barely in school so that may be hard, at first, for me to cope but I'll get things done."
The Weaver family has lived in Moranbah for about eight years.
"I've seen the population expand," she said. "There are always people taking about FIFO in Moranbah."
AS part of the inquiry into fly-in, fly-out workforce practices in regional Australia, CQUniversity Professor John Rolfe recently handed over a written submission.
"Planning and approval processes for major projects should have better recognition and planning for the needs and impacts on 'home' communities that provide FIFO and DIDO workforces," Prof Rolfe's submission said.
"(There should be development of) appropriate housing stocks in local communities that match the potential inflow of new employees, and avoid high housing costs that can generate perverse impacts on local town development."
THE Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has focused on the need to prioritise regional communities over revenue, following Wednesday's release of a report into FIFO and DIDO practices.
CFMEU national president Tony Maher said before employing FIFO workforces mining companies should be required to prove that there was no reasonable alternative.
"The impacts of FIFO and DIDO work arrangements on individuals, families, communities and the broader economy are so great that decisions should not only rest on mining companies' bottom lines," he said.
"Mining companies once built towns and invested in communities."