BHP — DRIVE IN,
DRIVE OUT WORKFORCE — PILBARA
332. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Regional Development:
I refer to BHP's
announcement yesterday that it intends to offer a drive in, drive out option
for more workers at mines near Newman, but with the caveat that the company had
''no target number'', and insisted that the program would be
voluntary and organic.
(1) Given that fly in, fly out work is generally
accepted as detrimental to regional development, will the minister push
BHP to set a firm target for a larger residential workforce in Newman?
(2) Is the minister seeking a meeting with BHP to
understand the time lines associated with the announcement?
(3) How will the
government work with BHP to ensure that it maintains a commitment to that
ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I thank the member for the question.
was in fact just reading the housing snapshot for the Pilbara this morning, and
I am pleased to say that it looks like housing and population stats in the Pilbara
are improving. Since we have been in government, we have seen an increase in
the median house price, which is a very clear indication that people are moving
back into the Pilbara. Of course, getting the balance right between FIFO and
residential development and activity is very important, and we are in frequent
dialogue with all the companies about getting that balance right. I can assure
the member that we will continue to have dialogue with those companies,
ensuring that we do what we can to develop opportunities in those communities.
As the member will be well aware—from the other statements she has made
and has been calling for, like creating a special economic zone and bringing
people in from overseas to that special economic zone—there is a challenge
in attracting people to the region. If we are going to provide the opportunity
for those mines to be expanded for the benefit of us all—mines that
underpin people who live in the city, including the member—we will need
to have those mining operations. We will absolutely be talking to BHP and all
other companies about making sure that we get that balance right.
The member will be very pleased to
know that this morning I was up in the Pilbara, in Karratha, handing out
regional economic development grants, which are all about developing
diversification within the industries of the Pilbara. I think around nine
businesses were recipients of those regional economic development grants, which
will absolutely help drive employment and opportunity in the Pilbara.