Greedy landlords make “extraordinary” FIFO cost: FMG

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Fortescue Metals Group says fly-in fly-out workers are $100,000 cheaper to employ and greedy landlords share the blame for skyrocketing property prices in mining regions.

FMG external relations manager Deirdre Willmott told the federal FIFO inquiry yesterday slow housing releases and the cost of living in the Pilbara was forcing mining companies to rely more on FIFO workers.

Willmott said it costs FMG $100,000 extra to employ a person who lives in the Pilbara rather than a FIFO worker.

AAP reports FMG said a resident worker for Port Hedland cost $150,000 and a FIFO worker for the same location cost $48,000 –– not including salaries.

"This cost is extraordinary and it is driven by the cost of housing, and that in turn increases the cost of living throughout the town," Willmott said.

"It’s not just resources companies who are paying $1,500 to $2,000 a week rent –– it’s everyone."

FMG community relations manager Ford Murray told the hearing landholder "vested interests" were part of the force raising Pilbara prices.

"There’s a landlord vested interest in Newman today who, for a 4×2 [house], will ask for $3,500 per week –– and that’s a town of 8,000 people or so," he said.

FMG called on the State Government to speed up the release of land so development could increase and affordability could be brought under control.

The WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy told the hearing attraction and retention of desperately needed workers would be "severely impacted" if mining companies were forced away from using FIFO workers.

Late yesterday Rio Tinto announced a $300 million plan to expand the Pilbara town of Wickham and develop more residential and FIFO accommodation.

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