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Background: The current mining boom has brought considerable wealth throughout Australia, but the benefits are not distributed evenly. The majority of Australian mining activities are in remote locations where demand for labour usually exceeds local supply, requiring a long-distance commuting (LDC) workforce from source communities through fly-in/fly-out (FIFO), drive- in/drive-out (DIDO) and bus-in/bus-out (BIBO) work arrangements.

There has been considerable interest in how LDC impacts on the host community (where a person works), and on workers and their families. Yet there has been limited focus on how LDC impacts on the source community.

This research examines the socio-economic implications of LDC for two source communities in regional Western Australia: Mandurah in the Peel region and Busselton in the South West region. They are distant from mining operations, but now home to significant or growing LDC populations.

The research assessed the socio-economic impacts of LDC for resident communities. It mapped:

  • the distribution of LDC in both communities
  • LDC worker mobility, occupations, family structures, socio-economic status, expenditure and investment patterns
  • the levels of education, training and workforce participation of LDC workers and their partners.

It examined the extent and spatial distribution of economic benefits flowing into the region from mining through local expenditure of LDC incomes, and, conversely, the demands on community infrastructure and services from an increased local LDC population.

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