Less than a quarter of Australia’s Fly in Fly Out (FIFO) and Drive in Drive Out (DIDO) workforce is directly employed in the mining industry, the first ever study of long distance commuting has revealed.

Despite claims that FIFO and DIDO is a “cancer” in Australia, a study of the 2011 Census by KPMG shows that only 2.1 per cent of the national workforce Long Distance Commutes (LDC) to work. Miners represent 21 per cent of the total LDC workforce.

The KPMG study for the Minerals Council of Australia, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and SkillsDMC, shows that more people LDC to Australia’s capital cities than to work in Australia’s nine mining regions.

A total of 64,056 people LDC to Australia’s capitals compared with 55,962 to the nine sampled mining regions. 44,610 people identified as mining industry employees.

Overall, the KPMG study shows that at the time of the 2011 Census, 213,773 Australians were long distance commuting.

This overall total includes more than 28,000 construction workers, about 14,000 public servants, more than 15,000* manufacturing industry employees, 13,000* healthcare workers and more than 12,000 people engaged in scientific research, architecture, engineering, IT, veterinary science and other professional services.

Other key findings include:

  • 25 per cent of the total mining industry workforce was long distance commuting at the 2011 Census, just three percentage points higher than in 2006.
  • KPMG estimates that 100,000 workers directly employed in mining operations and in industries allied to the resources sector LDC to work.
  • Sydney is Australia’s largest LDC destination followed by the Pilbara, the Bowen Basin, Melbourne and regional** New South Wales.
  • Perth is the largest feeder location (place of usual residence) for LDC workers followed by regional QLD, regional NSW, Sydney and Melbourne.
  • The proportion of workers engaged in LDC work practices increased by just 0.4 percentage points to 2.1 per cent in the five years to 2011.

The mining regions examined were the Pilbara, Central-West (WA), Surat Basin, North West QLD, the Hunter Valley, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Central SA, the Galilee Basin and the Bowen Basin.

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