Wide Bay Burnett likely to become a FIFO hub
THE Wide Bay Burnett could soon be recognised as a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) hub once a multibillion-dollar mining project takes off about 400km west of Rockhampton.
Construction of the world's largest thermal coal operation in the Galilee Basin is expected to begin next year, creating about 4000 jobs during construction and a further 1800 during operation.
Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett chairman, Grant McLean, said Bundaberg was one of the two airports in the region capable of accommodating large aircraft to offer a FIFO service.
"I'd like to see the Wide Bay Burnett be a FIFO hub as I'm sure a number of regions in Queensland would want that for their communities," he said.
"We'd be reasonably well placed for a flight to the Galilee for sure."
He said a FIFO service would address workers' driver fatigue and also enable them more time to spend with their families.
"Some people drive up to 10 hours to get to a project," he said.
Are you excited about the region becoming a FIFO hub?
This poll ended on 10 May 2013.
No, I have my reasons against it
Yes, it will create jobs and be good for everyone
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Mr McLean said a memoranda of understanding had been signed with project leaders GVK Hancock about sourcing the workforce out of the Wide Bay Burnett region.
"We see this as a wonderful opportunity for our region," he said.
"That means we can have a strong workforce in Wide Bay Burnett linked to such an efficient operation.
"If we're successful, and people see linking in (the region) with an efficient FIFO service to a mining project is what they want, we will hopefully see people relocating here."
Helen Stehbens, GVK Hancock External Affairs and Strategy executive general manager, said the two mines in the basin were expected to produce 60 million tonnes of coal, to hopefully be exported by late 2016/17.
"We understand the need for FIFO - you need to have some hubs," she said.
"You've got to allow people the flexibility to live where they want to live."
Ms Stehbens said it was still too early to comment on the success of the coking coal exploration near Avondale.