The coronavirus crisis will prompt mining and energy companies to permanently reduce their reliance on fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers in favour of those that live close to mines, says federal Resources minister Keith Pitt.
Australia’s biggest export industries, including iron ore and liquefied natural gas, rely on more than 50,000 workers who regularly fly from cities to work on remote sites, But that employment model has been thrown into chaos over the past fortnight as states limited cross-border travel to curb the spread of the virus.
The disruption forced hundreds of FIFO workers from south-eastern states to relocate their families to Western Australia and Queensland in a bid to keep their jobs, while the duration of shifts worked by FIFO workers has doubled and some cases tripled to reduce the amount of travel amid the pandemic.
Mr Pitt said he believed the pandemic would leave a permanent mark on employment models in the resources sector. ”I think the way our workforce is distributed and located post-corona will be very different to the pre-corona environment.” he told The Australian Financial Review.
”I think you will have a lot more residential workers in the future than we have had in the past.” Mr Pitt said there would always be some extremely remote projects that required FIFO workers, for example offshore oil rigs.
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