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FIFO workforce must end due to COVID-19 says official

BHP FIFO workers
BHP FIFO workers

Mining companies will no longer be allowed to transport remote workers to the mine site, if a Labor representative has his way.

The Western Australian Government is keen to stop fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers from coming to the Golden State due to the Chinese coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The FIFO workforce from the east, I think it is time that ended,” Premier Mark McGowan said according to the Australian Associated Press.

“I understand FIFO from Perth to a mine site if there is no town nearby, but I do not understand FIFO from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane. We need to come to a new arrangement.”

6000 workers wanted

The Labor leader is inviting an estimated 5000 to 6000 mine workers from the East Coast to consider permanently relocating to WA.

The government is offering a maximum $20,000 Building Bonus Grant until the end of 2020 to build a new house in Perth or regional WA, while the Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) is helping members cover the cost of relocating, living, flights and repaying the mortgage.

Quarantine hubs planned

For now, CME is proposing to set up on-site COVID-19 quarantine hubs specifically for interstate FIFO workers, especially those from virus hotspots Victoria, and both Campbelltown City Council and Liverpool City Council in southwest Sydney.

Allowing proponents to manage quarantine on chartered planes and at their own accommodation facilities is promised to help mining, oil and gas companies fill skilled roles in shutdowns and commissioning and end months of project delays due to the lack of manpower.

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“If it is really specialist work that is going on in particular areas of the site, perhaps they can isolate that area and those workers from the rest of the workforce,” CME director Rob Carruthers said.

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  • The east coast FIFO workers pay for their own flights to perth as a rule and we have worked very hard to secure mining jobs in other parts of Australia. I see a real us and them attitude around atm and its not helping anyone. Many of us have not returned home for many months to ease the isolating timing on our companies and are prepaired to stay as long as it takes to secure our jobs.
    I have emailed the premiers office to talk about the situation and have not even recieved a reply to date.