Western Australia’s push to permanently welcome fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers has started strong, as the state’s net interstate migration rate turned positive for the first time since 2013.
Western Australia holds the lowest unemployment and underemployment rates – 4.7 and 7.2 per cent, respectively – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Labour Force Survey for May.
State premier Mark McGowan said these figures represented a well utilised workforce.
“Today’s labour force data again highlights the ongoing strength of the Western Australian economy, with the unemployment rate the lowest of the states for a third consecutive month,” McGowan said.
“It is also a sign that the state government’s encouragement for eastern states’ FIFO workers to shift west is succeeding, helping to ensure the benefits of the high incomes generated from the mining sector stay in WA.”
The national unemployment rate was reported as 5.1 per cent, meaning Western Australia was below average.
The state’s population also grew by 1.3 per cent in 2020, at levels only bested by Queensland.
McGowan attributed the strong growth levels to an enticing economy and excellent COVID-19 management.
“More people are moving to Western Australia from the eastern states to take advantage of the economic opportunities that our great state has to offer and our strong handling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” McGowan said.
“We are also investing heavily to keep TAFE fees low to give Western Australians, particularly younger people, the skills they need to meet local job opportunities.”
The state government has been working with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) to support FIFO workers from eastern states who are interested in relocating their homes with a $20,000 building bonus grant
Prior to COVID-19’s travel restrictions, around 5000–6000 FIFO workers from eastern states travelled to Western Australia to work at mining, oil and gas sites.