A NEW push has been launched to attract a fly in, fly out service to the Coast for mine workers in a bid to protect an estimated $1 billion they bring to the region in their pay packets.
Sixteen Coast-based mining firms have joined forces to form the Sunshine Coast Mining and Gas Association, which hopes to establish the services by Christmas.
Those businesses alone employ 1500 mine workers but figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics recently indicated there could be as many as 10,000 workers flying between the Coast and the mines each week. With an average income of $100,000, there is plenty of incentive to ensure they continue to call the Coast home.
David Wrigley, co-ordinator of the two-week-old SCMAGA, said a FIFO service would also cut travel time for workers and reduce worker fatigue. But it is the hundreds of millions of dollars injected into the Coast's economy that is the greatest incentive. Mr Wrigley said the 16 companies involved in the organisation employed 1500 mine workers, each earning up to $120,000 a year.
"If we can establish this flight service, we'll be able to maintain and keep this money flowing through our economy," he said.
Currently, most Coast-based mine workers have no choice but to drive to Brisbane to catch flights to the major coal and gas sites at Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Moranbah and Roma.
Mr Wrigley said SCMAGA members had held talks with officials at Sunshine Coast Airport "to firm up which airlines and which destinations" would be involved, and "to establish the flight patterns required to get it working effectively".
Further discussions would be held this week.
A council spokesman confirmed yesterday that some discussions had taken place, however no other details were available.
The SCMAGA has prepared a survey for mining workers, to collect data that would be used to fine tune any FIFO arrangements.
Workers are invited to contact Mr Wrigley for a copy of the survey on 0412 118 020.