City of lifestyle choice for FIFO workers

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has welcomed the findings of a study into the city’s long distance commuter workforce, saying they reinforce the Gold Coast as the destination of choice for lifestyle.

Councillor Tate was joined at a key industry lunch by renowned Australian demographer Bernard Salt to announce the study findings.

“I’ve presumed all along – and Bernard Salt’s study provides concrete evidence of this – that while many Gold Coasters are prepared to commute long distances for work, they’re convinced the Gold Coast is the best place to live,” Cr Tate said.

The study, Analysis of the Gold Coast Long Distance Commuter Workforce, was prepared by the KPMG Demographics group and jointly funded by Regional Development Australia Gold Coast Inc, City of Gold Coast and Gold Coast Airport.

Mr Salt said the results showed that the number of ‘extreme commuters’ was growing faster on the Gold Coast than anywhere else in Australia.

“Over the five years to 2011 the number of long distance commuters in Australia jumped 37 percent to 214,000, where a long distance commuter is defined as someone who travels more than 100km to work.

“However, the number of long distance commuters living on the Gold Coast jumped 92 percent to 6,700 over this same period.”

Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Paul Donovan also welcomed the results of the report.

“We already have a purpose-built terminal ready to be utilised for FIFO [fly-in, fly-out] opportunities, so I hope this news encourages the airlines to consider increasing their flights direct to the Gold Coast.

Craig Devlin, Chair of Regional Development Australia, Gold Coast, said their priorities included workforce, sustainable communities and investment and infrastructure.

“The promotion of the Gold Coast as a potential FIFO hub aligns perfectly with our strategy, and Bernard Salt’s findings seem to support a business case for the city to actively pursue this opportunity.”

Cr Tate said the report highlighted that the Gold Coast ‘punches above its weight’ when compared to other major Australian cities.

“The Gold Coast is certainly open for business and we’re working on reviving that ‘have a go’ spirit to create more jobs, build confidence and encourage investment.

“Although this study is about those who work outside the city, it reinforces the notion that Gold Coasters are completely devoted to their city, but also that they are a willing and able workforce.”