Alice turning into a fly-in, fly-out mining camp?

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

A Darwin business has set up a fly-in, fly-out operation in Alice Springs, according to industry sources.

Quality Plumbing & Building Contractors has put dongas on an industrial block corner Smith and Priest Streets apparently to accommodate staff flying in from Darwin.

It appears the dwellings are in conflict with the zoning – General Industry – of the 5000 square meter block, and no planning and building applications have been made so far.

The owner of the business, Stavros Kantros, declined to comment.

Earlier this year the company won a $4.4m contract from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services to carry out repairs and maintenance of Territory Housing dwellings for 12 months.

The Alice Springs company previously doing that work has laid off staff.

Alice Springs based electrician Steve Brown, who had sub-contracted to the previous operator, says he made an approach to the Darwin firm, which was rejected, and Mr Kantros refused to take his calls. Photos above and below: Apparently unauthorized dongas on the industrial block.

Meanwhile Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, has announced the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia would inquire into and report on the use of “fly-in fly-out” and “drive-in drive-out” (FIFO and DIDO) workforce practices in regional Australia.

He says it is “an inevitable part of coping with the skills demands and the huge growth in the resource sector.

“Ideally you want to build communities that are sustainable, but some workers will always choose to live elsewhere and commute.”

The committee will focus on:-

• The extent and projected growth in FIFO/DIDO work practices, including in which regions and key industries this practice is utilised;

• Costs and benefits for companies and individuals choosing a FIFO/DIDO workforce as an alternative to a resident workforce;

• The effect of a non-resident FIFO/DIDO workforce on established communities, including community wellbeing, services and infrastructure;

• The impact on communities sending large numbers of FIFO/DIDO workers to mine sites.

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  1. Posted August 26, 2011 at 10:59 am

    donga 1 (ˈdɒŋɡə) — n (South African), ( Austral), (NZ) a steep-sided gully created by soil erosion. [C19: Afrikaans, from Nguni donga washed out gully]
    donga 2 (ˈdɒŋɡə) — n (in Papua New Guinea) a house or shelter.
    I was confused. I still read your paper. I don’t know why. “Keep on truckin'”. Virgil in Las Vegas.
    ED – Hi Virgil … welcome to the great Central Australia. Down (?) here dongas are efficient but very basic dwellings used out in the Bush. However, most people in Alice Springs would be a more than a little peeved to see them become the dominant form of accommodation.

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