Fifo tensions escalate

Friction between the resources industry and the mining town of Newman has escalated following the state’s decision to approve an extension for BHP Billiton’s 1,200-bed Kurra camp.


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The findings and comments made by Mr Howard Smith and Premier Barnett are completely irrelevant to the statement released by the Newman Chamber of Commerce today. In fact, there are over 4000 hotel / motel style rooms sitting predominantly vacant in the town of Newman at present as well as hundreds of residential rentals. This is more than enough to support a Fifo workforce as well as an increased residential contingent within the town. BHP’s mandate in previous years was to utilize local businesses first, with Kurra only to be used as a temporary overflow camp during a busy construction period, which is now very much over. Local accommodation providers have invested millions in tailored accommodation and facilities at the request of BHP and the promise that the Kurra lease would not be renewed come December. Utilising local providers in town has proven successful in integrating the Fifo workforce into the Newman community with workers making a very significant contribution to the towns’ economy, community groups and sporting clubs. Local accommodation providers employ hundreds of local residents and we have witnessed so many of these businesses and others fall in the past 12 months… and there will be many more to come if Colin Barnett does not intervene.

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BHP Group (BHP)

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