Mine towns richer, smarter, and family-focused: report

Mining towns have a higher proportion of families than the rest of regional Australia, with communities also posting higher income, employment, and education figures, a new study has found.

According to a national study by KPMG as at the 2011 census 34 per cent of households in mining regions comprised of a standard mum, dad, and kids family, compared to 33 per cent across the rest of regional Australia.

In South Australia the proportion of two parent families in mining regions was identical to the national average of 33 per cent, and the state's industry body said the figures were an eye-opener for mining critics.

“The report clearly defies any claims that these regions are primarily fly-in fly-out and not increasing in real population,” South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy CEO Jason Kuchel said.

“Employees are flying in, flying out, but they are also moving to the regions and bringing their families with them – providing real benefits and contributing to the sustainable growth of these communities.”

The report, released nationally by the Minerals Council of Australia and led by demographer Bernard Salt, has been seen by some critics as a pre-emptive strike by the mining industry prior to the release of a parliamentary report on the effects of FIFO work on mining communities.

Roebourne Shire president Fiona White-Hartig told ABC News she was sceptical of the report's findings, and claimed there were significant downsides to a boost in mining workers.

“We have about 12,000 FIFOs in our shire every night that do not pay rates, yet they utilise all the shire facilities, all our road infrastructure etc, but we can't get the income from that,” she said.

“They take their money and they spend it when they go home. So we are essentially are supporting this whole economy with FIFO workers that don't support our town.”

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