THIS is demonstrated by its growing popularity and recent KPMG research. However, NSW has a very small fly-in fly-out (FIFO) component to its mining workforce due to the fact that almost all NSW miners live in local communities near the mines where they work.
Mining in NSW is different in this regard due to the very local nature of the NSW mining workforce. The majority of our miners live and raise their families close to the mine operations where they work and are an ongoing integral part of their local communities.
According to our members there are less than 300 FIFO workers in NSW, highlighting the different nature of our mining workforce in NSW compared to other states.
Significantly, mining communities in NSW are growing and developing thanks to the economic stimulus mining brings and jobs created, and it’s not just the mining workers and their families that are benefitting.
The most recent national census confirmed that overall household incomes in NSW mining areas were among the strongest in the country. Median household income in Upper Hunter shire grew by 21.7 per cent between 2006 and 2011, while Singleton household incomes grew by 33.6 per cent, Newcastle by 31.4 per cent, Gunnedah by 29.34 per cent and Orange rose by 25.61 per cent over the same period.
This compares to NSW median household income growth of 18.7 per cent and national growth of 19.5 per cent over the same period.
The recent KPMG report into the demographics of mining regions also found that the Hunter Valley experienced the largest decline in unemployment rates of all major Australian mining regions between 2006 and 2012, falling from 8.4 per cent to 3.6 per cent.
The real challenge going forward for is for public investment in infrastructure to keep pace with the growth we are seeing in NSW mining communities. This is essential to ensure that our mining towns remain attractive places to live and work.
As government budget preparations continue, the NSW Minerals Council is calling for greater public investment in infrastructure in NSW mining communities to address the challenges of growth.