Kalgoorlie-Boulder mayor John Bowler has expressed his frustration regarding fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workers in the Goldfields region of Western Australia, telling a council meeting he is fed up with companies “bludging” on the good work of others.
Bowler reiterated his stance on Triple M Goldfields radio, saying that unlike reports in the media, the council is “not fighting the mining industry, we want get on with them.”
The message comes as debate rages in the Goldfields about the impact FIFO workers are having on the local economy, with Bowler encouraging mining companies to hire permanent residents in the region.
“You’ll get a more stable workforce, you’ll get a happier workforce, your workers will be able to tuck their kids into bed every night,” Bowler said during a Triple M interview.
“We, the community, will have more people living here, they’ll buy more from the local shops and service industry in west Kalgoorlie, so we only see wins out of this.”
While admitting some companies are engaging in best practice and hiring locally, Bowler said this wasn’t enough given other mining companies were capitalising on their good faith.
“They are paying lip service to try encourage a residential workforce, they don’t buy here locally and contribute little to the community, they are bludging on good companies that do all those things,” he said.
The mayor instead suggested the council would talk to the companies engaging in “best practice” and gain advice on how other mining companies in the region could improve.
“We want to talk to companies with best practise, ask how they contribute to the community, how they buy local, and take this to other companies who are bludging off their colleagues in the mining industry and say to them, you can do the same,” he said.
“Having always been in staunch opposition of increasing the gold royalty in the region, Bowler admitted that it “leaves a bad taste in my mouth when we see some companies doing absolutely nothing. This is the keenest I’ve been on an issue since I became mayor.”