HR issues challenge Bowen Basin growth

A STUDY into people management issues in the Bowen Basin’s coalmines has identified a series of resource management challenges facing the region.

A study into people management issues in the Bowen Basin’s coalmines has identified a series of resource management challenges facing the region.

A team of CQU researchers including Professor John Rolfe, Associate Professor Lee Di Milia and Dr Connie Zheng conducted the study.

The study is significant as it identifies a series of human resource management challenges currently facing the region’s most important industry — coal mining.

“Among those challenges, managing scarcity of housing supply, shiftwork design, managing safety and achieving work-life balance top the list,” says Dr Zheng, chief investigator of the project funded under the SEED grant scheme provided for CQU’s early researchers.

“The solution to these management challenges is quite complex. It would require an integrative approach, employing synergistic effects such as rational economic modelling, innovative management practices, social and political influences to address the issues”, commented by Professor Rolfe, an expert in Regional Economic Development.

The coalmines in general have focused on a specifically-defined set of human resource management strategies to address the issues, as indicated in the project final report.

“However, with an increasing use of short term-based contractors on mine site, and changing lifestyle needs of the overall workforce, the amount of travel by miners between coalmines and coast has increased, causing the concern on road safety and work-life balance,”says Dr Di Milia, who has already researched extensively into road safety and shiftwork design, apart from the current study.

A greater awareness of work-life balance issues has occurred and many miners tend to use the work-life balance programs as a part of attraction and retention strategies to address the issue of skill shortage in the region.

Nevertheless, the extent to which the work-life balance has been achieved by the individuals and mining communities is not overtly clear. The researchers will now team up with CQU’s Centre for Social Science Research to conduct a large scale of social survey in Queensland regional areas and investigate the individual and community’s perceptions of work-life balance and how the perceptions impact on individual choice of employers and on the mining community as a whole.

*To download an executive summary of the researchers report and the final report visit and search on the article title to retrieve the item that has links to the documents.

John Rolfe

0427 130 811

Lee Di Milia

0419 023 096

Mining Industries Research Hub

Central Queensland University

07 4923 2284

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