The proportion of resources sector workers in Western Australia using fly-in, fly-out work practices has increased to 55 per cent, a new study has estimated.
A report by the Chamber of Minerals & Energy and KPMG said the proportion had increased from 52 per cent two years ago.
It found that the use of FIFO was much more prevalent in WA, with 25 per cent of mining workers nationally using the practice.
The state’s high incidence of FIFO helps explain the finding that 44 per cent of the state’s resources sector workforce actually lives in Perth.
Outside Perth, the largest concentrations of resource sector workers are in the Pilbara (25 per cent of the total), the South West (11 per cent) and the south-east (10 per cent).
The report, titled ‘Economic reach of the WA resources sector’, estimates that the sector accounts for 11 per cent of total employment in the state.
That’s after adding up workers in resources extraction (103,796), resources-related manufacturing such as gas, alumina and explosives production (18,698), and resources-related construction (20,546).
The number employed in resources extraction has fallen by 6 per cent over the past year, as much of the mining sector, particularly gold and nickel, has gone into a slump.
This has been offset by growth in the number of people employed in resources-related construction, including the Gorgon and Wheatstone gas projects.
The sector’s total employment puts it on a par with health care and social assistance as the state’s biggest employer, and just ahead of retail trade and construction.
Nationally, the resources sector accounts for 3.8 per cent of total employment.
The sector contributed $89 billion to economic output in 2011-12, or 41 per cent of WA’s gross state product.
Nationally, the sector contributed $169 billion to economic output, or about 11 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product.
The capital intensity is much greater in WA than other states – WA accounted for 32.7 per cent of the sector’s national employment but 52.6 per cent of the sector’s national ‘value added’.