On 7 March 2011, a research team at Queensland University of Technology, led by Professor Kerry Carrington launched a study into the social impact of mining in Queensland (www.sites.google.com/site/socialimpactofminingsurvey). i The study surveyed perceptions about how mining projects reliant on a non-resident workforce, are impacting on Queensland mining communities. Only those aged 18 or over who either live or work in a community or region impacted by mining development were eligible to participate – this included non-resident workers. Perceptions about the impact on local economies, employment, the provision of social services and recreational activities, housing, community safety, crime, lifestyle and overall community wellbeing were surveyed. Social impacts, such as the impact on housing and rental affordability, can be triangulated with supporting data. However other social impacts (such as impacts on lifestyle, sense of community safety and wellbeing) are less tangible and perceptions offer the only guide to measuring their social consequences. In the qualitative responses to the survey the impacts of non-resident work arrangements on non-resident workers and their families emerged as a key issue, as did expectations about the role of government in mitigating adverse social impacts. These issues form a major part of the discussion in this report.
The on-line Social Impact of Mining Survey was open from 7 March to 27 May 2011. The aggregate results presented in this report are drawn from 559 eligible respondents residing or working in Queensland mining towns and regions. Respondents were recruited through on-line, print and radio advertising, mining community organisations (Mining Communities United, FIFO Families and Mining Family Matters), civic institutions (such as Local Government, Human Service Agencies, Shire Councils and Chambers of Commerce) and contacts randomly selected from community directories. The vast majority of survey responses came from localities in the Bowen Basin Region (Collinsville, Dysart, Blackwater, Emerald, Moranbah and Moura) which services most of Queensland’s coal mining and resources sector development. Results at a community level have been made available to representatives from these communities