Long distance commuting: A tool to mitigate the impacts of the resources industries boom and bust cycle?

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Abstract

Western Australia experienced a prolonged resources boom for more than a decade commencing in 2001. The majority of mining industry employees commute long distances from their homes, living onsite in company accommodation and working compressed rosters for a prescribed period before commuting home again for furlough and recommencing the work and commute cycle. Many community leaders, politicians and businesses complain that company policies and industrial relations arrangements, which enabled long distance commuting (LDC), undermine regional economic development. They argue that the host communities closest to mining operations bear the brunt of globally driven boom and bust markets and experience many of the disadvantages but few of the opportunities associated with booms or busts, while source communities, particularly large cities, reap the benefits from repatriated salaries, increased populations and investment derived from mining activities in the host communities. This paper examines the role of long distance commuting as a tool for mitigating the impacts of the boom and bust cycles in the resources industries of Western Australia, focusing on the resources-rich region of the Pilbara. The paper will also speculate the social and economic impact on the mining communities and the state more broadly if government had capitulated and restricted long distance commuting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLand Use Policy
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

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commuting
industry
resource
resources
Western Australia
company policy
regional economics
community
social impact
industrial relations
economic impact
large city
salary
economic development
mining industry
social effects
accommodation
human resources
politician
employee

Cite this

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title = "Long distance commuting: A tool to mitigate the impacts of the resources industries boom and bust cycle?",
abstract = "Western Australia experienced a prolonged resources boom for more than a decade commencing in 2001. The majority of mining industry employees commute long distances from their homes, living onsite in company accommodation and working compressed rosters for a prescribed period before commuting home again for furlough and recommencing the work and commute cycle. Many community leaders, politicians and businesses complain that company policies and industrial relations arrangements, which enabled long distance commuting (LDC), undermine regional economic development. They argue that the host communities closest to mining operations bear the brunt of globally driven boom and bust markets and experience many of the disadvantages but few of the opportunities associated with booms or busts, while source communities, particularly large cities, reap the benefits from repatriated salaries, increased populations and investment derived from mining activities in the host communities. This paper examines the role of long distance commuting as a tool for mitigating the impacts of the boom and bust cycles in the resources industries of Western Australia, focusing on the resources-rich region of the Pilbara. The paper will also speculate the social and economic impact on the mining communities and the state more broadly if government had capitulated and restricted long distance commuting.",
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AB - Western Australia experienced a prolonged resources boom for more than a decade commencing in 2001. The majority of mining industry employees commute long distances from their homes, living onsite in company accommodation and working compressed rosters for a prescribed period before commuting home again for furlough and recommencing the work and commute cycle. Many community leaders, politicians and businesses complain that company policies and industrial relations arrangements, which enabled long distance commuting (LDC), undermine regional economic development. They argue that the host communities closest to mining operations bear the brunt of globally driven boom and bust markets and experience many of the disadvantages but few of the opportunities associated with booms or busts, while source communities, particularly large cities, reap the benefits from repatriated salaries, increased populations and investment derived from mining activities in the host communities. This paper examines the role of long distance commuting as a tool for mitigating the impacts of the boom and bust cycles in the resources industries of Western Australia, focusing on the resources-rich region of the Pilbara. The paper will also speculate the social and economic impact on the mining communities and the state more broadly if government had capitulated and restricted long distance commuting.

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