Gympie aims for 3000 mineworkers

A GOAL of bringing 3000 mineworkers to Gympie and the Wide Bay Burnett within three years was central to the region winning government funding for a fly-in fly-out co-ordinator for the mining industry.

If this ambitious aim is realised it will be worth about $2 billion to the Wide Bay economy.

The announcement earlier this week that only Wide Bay and the Gold Coast secured state and federal backing for a co-ordinator from among 60 regions that applied has galvanised the education and development sectors locally.

"Schools and the development industry know that mineworkers and their families mean enrolments and an increased need for housing," Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett executive officer Paul Massingham said.

"These sectors have already been in contact with us to begin discussions as to how the new appointment can be leveraged."

Gympie mayor Ron Dyne said Gympie Regional Council had participated in the FIFO application but said the Kybong airport was not up to the task of directly accommodating FIFO at this stage.

However he said the Gympie region's lifestyle and affordability made it a perfect home destination.

No official numbers have been collated here but a significant number of men and women already fly in and fly out or drive in and drive out to mines throughout Australia and the world.

"Our lifestyle and affordable housing make us a desirable place to live and an attractive option for mineworkers," Cr Dyne said.

Mr Massingham led the team that developed the successful funding pitch.

He pointed to the high cost of living in centres such as Gladstone and Mackay and the low cost of real estate in the Wide Bay as increasing its appeal as a home destination for mineworkers.

The position will be advertised and is expected to be filled within three months.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell welcomed the announcements, and said his council was working hard to accommodate the needs of mining workers.

Gympie Times

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