Councils seek FIFO handouts
Lynne Craigie

Pilbara Regional Council wants to develop a formula to measure the extra costs fly-in, fly-out workers impose on local governments.

The move follows the announcement Federal Government grants to Pilbara councils would be cut this year by up to 11 per cent.

Council chairwoman Lynne Craigie said the after discussions with the WA Local Government Grants Commission, Pilbara local governments would seek to measure the FIFO impact on council spending and apply for extra funding.

The grants commission each year establishes how much money the State’s 138 councils get from the Federal Government in grants, based on population and other factors.

“We are trying to find if a template can be made for what FIFO does actually cost the community,” she said.

“The formula will hopefully have a range of uses – we could go to resource companies and say ‘this is what you are costing us’ or we could go back to the State and Federal governments with it as evidence more funding is needed.

“It would be applicable all over Australia, anywhere there are FIFO workers.”

Pilbara Regional Council represents the shires of Roebourne, East Pilbara and Ashburton, and Town of Port Hedland.

Ms Craigie said as many grants were based on population, this would have adverse effects on the North West because many FIFO workers may not submit they live in the Pilbara on their Census forms.

She said the notion people and councils in the Pilbara were rolling in money was not true.

“Local government is actually behind the eight-ball,” Ms Craigie said.

“The boom hasn’t made everyone in the Pilbara and Kimberly rich, despite what people on the east coast think.”

WA Local Government Grants Commission chairman Linton Reynolds said the cuts in funding to Pilbara councils among others came after a review of methodology for allocating funds.

Mr Reynolds said the commission would be happy to provide more money to Pilbara region local governments if the formula for extra cost could be established.

“We have been talking to the councils about this for about 15 years now and asked them to show us how it is that they spend extra money on (FIFO) people,” he said.

Mr Reynolds said despite cuts, Pilbara council grants would still be “pretty substantial”

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