FLY IN-FLY OUT CLOSER
19 October 2011,
THE Gold Coast is one step closer to becoming Queensland’s biggest fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) hub, with Rio Tinto, BMA and other resources companies turning up in force today for the Mining and Gas Jobs Expo at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) director Minna Knight claims there is strong worker interest in living on the glitter strip, while cashing in on the biggest mining boom since the Gold Rush.
“In less than 30 days of operation, AMMA’s online careers and job portal miningoilandgasjobs.com has been inundated with enquiries from Gold Coast residents (who) wanted to learn more about FIFO and how they can engage in mining employment without moving,” says Knight.
Local junior explorer Coppermoly managing director Peter Swiridiuk is interested in exploring FIFO options on an Asia-Pacific level.
“I will be contacting Gold Coast City Council regarding that. It would be a good idea for mines based in Papua New Guinea. We’ve been doing that for many years from Perth and Brisbane,” says Swiridiuk.
“Anything that can create jobs for the GC is a good opportunity to boost employment and get the economy back on track.”
Gold Coast City Council has contacted more than 20 mining companies and contractors regarding the FIFO proposal. A memorandum of understanding is understood to have been signed between council and an unnamed mining company since as early as September, but council is keeping a lid on the details.
Macarthur Coal CEO Nicole Hollows has ruled out incorporating FIFO at the coal exporter. Speaking at a recent Australian Institute of Company Directors event, Hollows claimed the location of Macarthur Coal projects in the Bowen Basin was unsuitable for such a proposal.
Gold Coast Airport is finalising negotiations with a resources company consortium to transform the former Tiger Airways terminal into a dedicated FIFO centre, with chief operating officer Paul Donovan saying the terminal is all systems go.
However workplace management consultant Tony Wilson warns the growing FIFO workforce inevitably carries the risk of a wider gap between staff values.
“A goal-setting exercise showed the two teams had completely different priorities and goals. This can lead to frustration and a lack of motivation or care about work,” says Wilson.
“Many of these FIFO arrangements also mean that people work in shifts - very few people in one team knew any of the people in the other team, and yet they relied on each other to get the job done.”
Wilson suggests set collective goals and rules of engagement to maintain standards.
“Employers should have functions for teams to get to know each other in order to give them the opportunity to share personal stories and anecdotes from home,” he says.