The Federal Government has responded to the to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia report Cancer of the bush or salvation for our cities? Fly-in, fly-out and drive-in, drive-out workforce practices in Regional Australia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said that the government recognises that FIFO work practices are one way the labour market is responding to the demand for skilled workers around Australia in a range of sectors.
“FIFO is most often used to address a lack of skilled employees in remote parts of Australia,” Mr Truss said.
“It is a legitimate practice to ensure access to a reliable workforce for regional employers, however, FIFO comes with an impact on local communities and the Australian Government has taken this into consideration in its response.
“Many of the recommendations more directly relate to areas of State Government responsibility but the Australian Government has agreed to four of the 21 recommendations, while noting 14 others. Responses to many of the recommendations are already underway.
“As announced in the 2015–16 Federal Budget the Australian Government will better target the Zone Tax Offset to ensure it will support those taxpayers who are actually living in and incurring the cost of residing in a remote area.
“We have remodelled the role of the Australian Small Business Commissioner to better service the needs of small business operators, and we already have a range of mental health initiatives in place that workers may utilise.”
The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Simon Bennison said AMEC is pleased that the government has recognised FIFO and DIDO work practices as a legitimate way for employers to meet their skills needs, particularly in regional locations.
“FIFO has provided a viable solution in attracting and retaining the right skill sets to work on mining and mineral exploration projects in remote and regional communities throughout Australia,” Mr Bennison said.
“AMEC and our members support FIFO and DIDO which provide an adaptive management capacity to meet industry demand and the differing needs of the workforce.
“There are a number of factors which influence workforce strategies, such as the cyclical nature of the industry, mine location, mine life cycle, the skills required and the transient nature of the workforce.
“FIFO has not only been successful in meeting the immediate needs of employers for construction and production purposes but it also provides workers with a choice. In many cases, FIFO rosters enable workers to set themselves up financially and provide the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends when they are not on roster.”