Rio Tinto has signed a fly in fly out Memorandum of Understanding with Busselton, the first formal agreement for a FIFO program.
The announcement comes as Skywest is granted approval for a three month regular passenger service trial between Busselton and Perth.
John Dumbill, Rio's general manager for Greater Hope Downs, said he was pleased to sign the MoU for Rio, especially after the expansion of flights from Busselton to the Pilbara.
“We have been flying out of Busselton since 2007 and these flights have grown to now transport our FIFO workforce to the four Pilbara mines of Brockman, West Angelas, Hope Downs and Yandicoogina,” Dumbill said.
“This has injected over $100 million in wages and procurement into the southwest region in 2011."
The MoU itself is a three year agreement that creates a framework between Rio and Busselton that includes contact officers and the development of strategies to address any issues.
The miner has also entered a year long funding agreement for $185 00 that will provide money for youth and FIFO support programs, and include $35 000 for counseling support at local schools; $10 000 for a FIFO symposium; $80 000 for a youth leadership program; $35 000 to support a new community resource centre; and $25 000 to develop new youth enterprise programs.
“This funding partnership has a particular focus on young people and their families ensuring the unique needs of individual and families who live a FIFO lifestyle are understood and met," Dumbill explained.
"This is additional to other activities Rio Tinto supports in the region such as the Cinefest Oz event in Busselton," he said.