Mining communities have reached their boiling point, with the high cost of living in heavy mining regions coming to a head.
Iron-ore mining company the Forescue Metals Group (FMG) have addressed a federal parliamentary inquiry regarding the huge living costs being placed on certain mining-rich areas due to the alleged greed of the Western Australian government and their landlords, creating a need for fly-in, fly out (FIFO) workers.
FMG community relations manager Ford Murray stated that ‘vested interests’ were not releasing cheap land in the Pilbara region, unfairly pushing up the cost of living for those in the economically-strong mining industry as well as for local residents.
“At the moment, we see towns in the Pilbara constrained,” says Murray. ”Because for all those outside the town, who don’t live in the Pilbara, who – like me – speak about affordability, there’s a landlord vested interest in the price being high.”
Murray has slated the issues as a ‘blockage’ that must be ‘unlocked’, calling the $3,500 per week rent in the area of Newman a serious issue.
The cost of living in the mining towns is also putting economic pressure on mining companies, with government relations stating that the costs of FIFO workers were more than $100,000 less than their local counterparts.
“The cost is extraordinary and it is driven by the cost of housing, and that in turn increases the cost of living throughout the town,” says government relations manager Deidre Willmott.
However, the federal government is working toward securing more land in order to cut the increasing FIFO working conditions.
“This is not our preference, and we are working hard with the state government to secure more land,” says Willmott.
The government relations manager says a lack of land is slowing down profits, as well as the growth and productivity of the sector. Both FMG and the federal government will continue to push for a greater land supply in order to bring down the rising costs for all involved in the mining areas.