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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MINING & TECHNOLOGY AUSTRALIA 2014 | ISSUE 8 19 illiquidity and risk of such properties – while this frustrates the locals, the upside to this is it could even be argued that the already infated property prices have been tempered by this constraint to demand. • We have an increasingly mobile workforce, with greater demands for higher level services and facilities than can be realistically provided in small remote communities. All this aside, the current state of the industry probably best highlights why FIFO needs to be part of the solution. While construction crews are still being deployed wherever they are needed and for long as they are needed on already commited projects, there has been a deferment of many projects – had this FIFO workforce been residential, the resultant bursting of the construction pipeline would have had even more devastating impacts on remote communities and on families feeling the pinch having to cut their losses and run. The impacts haven't just been felt in the construction phase – many thousands of jobs have been shed as commodity prices have fallen, and it's taken months for the volatile situation to stabilise. Against this backdrop, the adjustment in the sector took the heat out of the employment market and created a more difcult environment in the second half of the Cairns FIFO Project in which to engage with the resources sector, and generate traction on regional FIFO initiatives. But there are still employment opportunities being created by projects that are already commited and underway, as well as some incremental growth at existing sites within the northern Australia catchment. In many respects, this shift has enabled a more targeted efort to atract the companies to the Cairns workforce. High unemployment in one region to supplement the skills shortages of another appears at face value to be a laudable objective and kill two birds with one stone – and no doubt this was a factor in choosing Cairns as the frst FIFO Coordinator location. Cairns faced the highest unemployment in the nation – at one point hiting 13%, and averaging 11% for 2009-10, double the national average of 5.5%, and over three times that of the Territory (3.4%) – not to mention the 1.9% rate in Darwin. Construction in Cairns had taken a huge hit with three high profle development company failures, while tourism had been hit hard by high exchange rates and falling Japanese numbers. The under-employment rate prety much doubles these numbers, so there has been a signifcant capacity lying idle in the Cairns region. So it would seem plausible that – if Cairns is in fact the largest regional centre across northern Australia – our available capacity could be matched against the pockets of demand being driven by the resources sector. But this is not just about supplying labour – skills are paramount in meeting the needs of the sector; generally, these skills are not to be found in the unemployment queues. In many respects, Cairns has been a victim of its own good looks – it has a vibrant tourism industry which portrays a quality atractive leisure image across the globe; it is this success which also creates the perception that Cairns is just about Reef and beaches and rainforests. The strength of the imagery around Cairns does, however, have one added beneft – that is, that Cairns represents a highly desirable place to live, and it's a message that we rarely have to sell. Through the course of the FIFO Project, much efort has gone in to trying to dispel the "myths" of Cairns just being about tourism and bring together some key data that highlights the potential for the region to grow its FIFO base, both by drawing upon the skills of people already living in the region, as well as atracting FIFO workers to use Cairns as the residential base for employment in the sector. So how did we go about the task of developing more FIFO for Cairns? Priority destination targets for a FIFO workforce were split into construction projects and operational sites across central and northern Queensland, the Territory, and northwest WA. While construction has tapered of, there are some large projects still in play, noticeably the Ichthys project in Darwin, as well as those closer to home like Rio Tinto's South of Embley project at Weipa.

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