Cairns positions itself as hub for fly-in/fly-out mine workers
CAIRNS is being showcased as a one-stop shop for the multi-billion dollar fly-in/fly-out mining workforce sector.
Central to this is Cairns becoming the home of a federally-funded FIFO centre of excellence.
The proposal was outlined by Advance Cairns in a submission to yesterday’s hearing of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia into the use of FIFO and drive-in/drive-out workforce
Advance Cairns chief executive officer Stewart Christie told the hearing that Cairns, which was the first city to employ a FIFO co-ordinator, was ideally placed to "co-ordinate, measure, assess and share the experiences gained in this region with other areas across Australia, who are just beginning this journey".
He said the centre, which was backed by the Cairns Regional Council, was vital to ensure that other areas worked together, instead of competing, to share the rewards of the mining and resources sectors.
He said the centre would deal with resource companies seeking skilled FIFO workers, goods and services, plan and develop infrastructure, and have plans in place to handle the social and economic impacts of FIFO workers and their families.
"Building on existing partnerships between key stakeholders, we propose that a FIFO Centre of Excellence is established to enable the co-ordination of all service requirements," Mr Christie said.
"This centre would also be responsible for obtaining quality research in this region on the current impact of FIFO and develop relevant strategies based on lessons learnt from the Cairns Defence Families Unit, FIFO Families, Mining Family Matters and other best practice examples in Western Australia and Canada
"Also, the Australian and Queensland governments have identified that there will be a number of other FIFO co-ordinators appointed in the near future.
"It will be vital that these co-ordinators work together, collaborate and share information and best practice rather than compete as this will have an adverse impact for government, the resource sector and the Australian workforce.
"As well, Advance Cairns wants extra federal funding to broaden the role of Mr (Jeremy) Blockey to include Papua New Guinea.
"Increasing the amount of FIFO with northern Australia and Papua New Guinea is critical to strengthening and increasing the resilience of our regional economy and increasing the critical mass of our FIFO workforce," Mr Christie said.
There are more than 2150 FIFO workers currently based in Cairns.