Shire of Coolgardie Takes Partnership Approach with the Mining Industry

Published: Thursday, 18 July 2019 at 8:00:00 AM

The Shire of Coolgardie is the largest producer of minerals in the region and the third largest local government producer in Western Australia, with gold, lithium and nickel mining operations supporting globally significant regional exports. In 2017/18, the Shire’s mineral production enjoyed a 25% increase equating to a total $3.13B in the value of minerals.

With the increase in mineral exploration and production in the region in the last three years, the Shire of Coolgardie has been proactively engaging with mining operators with the aim to establish partnerships for the long-term economic benefit of the residents of the Shire.

In November 2018, the Shire brought together the CEO’s of major mining companies operating in its region. The outcome of this was the development of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Shire and these companies whereby both parties committed to work collaboratively to support and deliver long term economic and social benefits to the Shire of Coolgardie community.

Malcolm Cullen, Shire President stated that, “we are beginning to see some positive outcomes from the establishment of these partnerships. The mining industry is a major stakeholder in our community and provides 72% of the Shire’s rate income”.

“The Shire would always prefer a residential or DIDO workforce over FIFO workforces, but it is recognised that due to the labour shortage in the region, the mining industry has become reliant upon FIFO workers to fill the gap. As a Council we have promoted and pushed for residential workforces in our communities for some years now.”

In the Shire of Coolgardie, there are several existing accommodation camps and villages situated in close proximity to remote mining operations to overcome occupational health and safety reasons. In 2018, the Shire was approached by a company to re-locate a former mining accommodation camp into the townsite of Coolgardie.

The Shire Council supported the development in the belief that the camp would bring immediate economic benefits to the businesses and Coolgardie community. After almost a year of operations, the businesses in the town have seen a significant increase in goods and services purchased and in one case, additional staff have been required.

In 2019, the Shire lodged a submission to the Productivity Commission requesting the Federal Government develop a special economic zone exemption that will provide a financial incentive for FIFO employees to relocate to the region to attract families, address the region’s critical skills/labour shortage and contribute to the sustainability of the region.

The Shire of Coolgardie will continue to work in partnership with the mining companies in our region to improve social amenity and infrastructure for our community.

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