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A Grade Men's teams Port (L-R)Tyce , Lauren Pingel and Tashia Marshall Steve Beale and Chris Dunphy, MIPEC Construction Under 16 Girls with coach Miranda Baker Taylor Malone and Aleithia Row Row Trent Johnston – QLD Axemans Association (L-R)Brooke, Mardi and Colin mining (L-R) Zander, Megan, Mac, Jonty and Wylie Philp Aboutusgeneric_2 Aboutusgenericimage_3 Denyse Major and Keagan Freeman Greg Byrne, Downing; Ian Reed, QNP
A Grade Men's teams Port (L-R)Tyce , Lauren Pingel and Tashia Marshall Steve Beale and Chris Dunphy, MIPEC Construction Under 16 Girls with coach Miranda Baker Taylor Malone and Aleithia Row Row Trent Johnston – QLD Axemans Association (L-R)Brooke, Mardi and Colin mining (L-R) Zander, Megan, Mac, Jonty and Wylie Philp Aboutusgeneric_2 Aboutusgenericimage_3

Looking for local
FIFO not the favourite when it comes to productivity.
Tuesday 11 March 2014  

LOCALS - not FIFO workers - are still the preferred option in Queensland mining, according to leading contingent labour and recruitment firm Workpac.

General manager of operations Cameron Hockaday said employers were still looking locally, not because of any philosophical preference, but simply because of the productive advantages.

“The message we are getting is definitely that there is a desire to support local engagement,” Mr Hockaday told Shift Miner.

“It is genuinely a big criteria when we try and recruit people. Our customers want a workforce living close to the site, preferably in a local town, turning up on time and fresh for work.”

Mr Hockaday said despite the downturn, demand for the right skills had not disappeared from the coalfields.

However, he said due to the uncertainty in the market, the way in which businesses put on staff had changed.

“The question being asked of us is how can we deliver our services with more efficiency, which I think is very different to two years ago when it was very much about production at any cost,” said Mr Hockaday.

In a time of tight budgets, he said contingent labour had become particularly attractive to employers because they know the people they are getting are skilled, experienced and "production ready" for the machine they are going to operate.

This lowers downtime, reduces on-site training and ultimately delivers increased productivity.

Mr Hockaday said despite the downturn, there was still plenty of movement in the labour market.

“There is still definitely hiring in the sector.

“The quoted industry annual turnover figure is around 23 per cent according to Energy Skills Queensland’s Heartbeat report for the mining industry, so there are opportunities even when mines are in a steady state.”

“But expectations have certainly adjusted, it’s no secret that pay rates have come back a few pegs.”

Further south, in the booming CSG sector, the use of contingent labour hasn’t been as widely adopted.

“In the gas sector things are a little bit different,” he said.

“That industry is being driven by the big permanent model, and perhaps that is because they are looking for a very specific set of highly skilled people - and maybe those people don’t lend themselves to the contingent labour model.

“Having said that, we did assist some of the subcontractor businesses in the Surat Basin locate people locally.”

Mr Hockaday said the one game-changer for the outlook in Queensland mining was the Galilee Basin.

“That’s the big elephant in the room…  it could be anything from six months to two years [from development] depending on who you talk to.

“That’s the big wild card in the mix.”

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