The escalation of anti-mining company rhetoric from the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder this week will culminate in a vote at Monday’s council meeting to build a war chest of data aimed at proving the industry is failing the community.
The policy would see the City commission research into the effects of fly-in fly-out workforces on the mental health, health and social wellbeing of the Kalgoorlie community. That research would be used to “get on the front foot” to combat FIFO.
Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA chief executive Paul Everingham, above left, welcomed the research, so long as it was objective.
“I’m not afraid of the findings,” he said. “If the aim is to prove mining is not doing enough, however, then it is already subjective and therefore not credible research.”
City chief executive John Walker, above right, said the City needed to “line its ducks up” to take on the mining PR machine.
“If you are going to take on a CME or a (Minerals Council of Australia) or a Rio Tinto, you really need … data to take the fight up,” he said.
“The economists tell us they have never seen anything like what is happening in Kalgoorlie, where you have commodity prices so high, you have investment so high … yet the residential population is not growing.”
The war of words with the mining industry centres around a belief from the City that most mining companies in the Goldfields had become lazy, were prioritising FIFO and were not providing enough financial support to the community.
City Mayor John Bowler lashed out at the CME too, describing it as an organisation which existed to “shut the locals up”.
Mr Everingham said the rhetoric was surprising and incorrect.
“I saw John Bowler at a developing Northern Australia conference about two weeks ago and he didn’t raise anything with me, so it did surprise me a bit,” he said.
“In the Goldfields, there are examples of any number of our companies having paid for roads, for public infrastructure, having paid for doctors to be in the local town because doctors no longer want to live in town.
Source: The West Australian, 20 July 2019