Premier Mark McGowan has renewed his call for Eastern States-based FIFO workers to relocate permanently to WA, saying there were State and company incentives to make the move.
Speaking at a breakfast event on Tuesday this week, Mr McGowan did not give a timeline for the lifting of tight border restrictions imposed because of COVID-19 and said that resource sector workers flying in to work in WA presented a risk to keeping WA free from community spread of the virus.
“What we have said to major miners — and a lot of major companies would like their workforces to be wholly within WA — is that COVID has shown that these FIFO workforces out of the Gold Coast or Melbourne or Sydney is a risk,” Mr McGowan said.
“Having a workforce here is clearly a business advantage, and it’s also great for the State; 6000 high- income people and their families moving into the State will pick up a little bit of the slack that we have lost from the loss of population growth.
“It’s not great for Melbourne or Brisbane or Sydney, but it’s great for WA.
“I moved to WA when I was a young guy. It’s not that hard. It worked out pretty well for me.
“Moving States, starting a new life is actually a good thing to do. I would encourage all those people to take a chance; do something different.”
Mr McGowan said a lot of business leaders he had spoken to wanted their workforce to live in WA.
“Flying back and forth now is a risk, and an expense so I think I’m doing business a favour because it allows them to go to their workforce and say the Premier is saying you should live here.
“We will continue to work with industry to get people to live here.
“We made the $20,000 (State) housing grant for building available to anyone, so FIFO workers can get $45,000 (including Federal incentives) to build a new house, which is a pretty big incentive, and many of the companies are offering incentive packages for their workforce to live here so I think we’re all working together on that.”
The State Government is partnering with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy to lure Eastern States-based FIFO workers to relocate.
Several CME members will offer a range of incentives to assist with relocation costs and mortgage payments, and assistance to travel to a worker’s State of origin once or twice a year.
Chamber Chief Executive Paul Everingham said many companies would provide a regional living allowance to encourage workers to reside in the communities in which their company operates.