MTA-AUS 2014

CONEXPO-CON/AGG VIP SHOW GUIDE contains Floor Plans and a complete listing of companies exhibiting at the ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014 trade show in Las Vegas March 3-7, 2014. It also contains 2014 forecasts for the Aggregate, Concrete and Cement industries

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18 MINING & TECHNOLOGY AUSTRALIA 2014 | ISSUE 8 UPFRONT THERE HAS BEEN A VERY ONE-SIDED debate around Fly In-Fly Out as a workforce solution for the resources sector over the past couple of years. It's a debate that has been highly politicised. In large part this was as a direct result of the Parliamentary Inquiry into FIFO and DIDO work practices, a tortuous series of 26 public hearings strung out over 12 months, and that could have easily resulted in some prety ordinary decisions being made to treat the supposed FIFO "cancer" that had been let loose. Fortunately, it appears that time has been the enemy to that particular episode, so perhaps now is the time to bring greater balance to the discussion about what might be good for the health of this nation in the long-term with regard to mobilising remote workforces. Is FIFO a viable solution to the resources sector skills shortages? O airns FIFO Project Now is the time to bring greater balance to the discussion about what might be good for the health of Australia in the long-term with regard to mobilising remote workforces, writes Jeremy Blockey. Now before the traders associations of any remote mining community beat their chests with the anti-FIFO war cry, let me say this – I have been based in regional northern Australia for the beter part of 25 years, and I am passionate about regional development and buying locally, especially in remote communities. I empathise with your position – it's tough out there. It may surprise you that even in Cairns, we get a feeling of isolation from our political power bases and often feel short- changed – we too have to work hard to get anything in our community and hate loss of capacity or intellectual property when "southerners" do our work. But there are some cold harsh realities for remote townships: • Not everyone wants to relocate into our litle corner of paradise, and if perchance thousands did, would it retain its special qualities? • The smaller the community the harder it is to build capacity and diversify, and there is high risk in growing too quickly of a small base. • The days of the purpose-built mining town are well and truly over, with or without tax incentives, and those that were built in past eras are quite likely a ghost of their former self once mining operations ceased – who would want to invest in that and face the prospect of dereliction at the end of the day? • It's a challenge to get enough skilled mine workers to remote communities, so how hard will it be to get the average tradie, the modestly paid teacher or nurse, or the lowly paid retail worker to relocate to the expensive localities? • Even if we did, how long would it take to build their houses to accommodate them, the school rooms in which to teach their children, or the hospital wards to treat them? And contrary to some arguments put forward, the ensuing demand-supply equation brought on by the new residents would simply exacerbate beyond all measure the infationary impact on housing and living costs. • Banks have an inherent reluctance to lend high portions of property value in remote communities because of the relative

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