City Proactive About Increased Flight Options

Published on 12 March 2019

The City of Busselton, with in-principle support from Rio Tinto, is exploring opportunities to expand flight offerings into and out of the Busselton Margaret River Airport by seeking additional FIFO services to operate from the facility.

Members of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy’s North West Regional Council were agreeable to hearing about inter-regional flights at its next Council meeting.

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said that regular passenger air transport between the State’s South West and North West has the potential to impact very positively on both regional economies. It will also ease the travel burden on FIFO workers and their families and appeal to tourists.

“FIFO demand extends beyond the resource sector and this arrangement could provide enormous employment benefits for people in the South West and a welcome pool of employees in the North West,” he said. 

“Many industries in the State’s North West rely on FIFO employees and a significant number of people are already travelling to the region from the South West to work in the medical sector, the retail and service sectors as well as the resources sector.  

“There isn’t a logical reason why these people should have to take a flight to the Pilbara from Perth when the Busselton Margaret River Airport has the capacity to accommodate extra flights. For this to be viable however, we need buy-in from all the resource companies utilising the BMRA, such as one of our towns largest employers Rio Tinto, who have been supportive of these discussions at NWRC meetings.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore, General Manager Communities and Communications, Linda Dawson said Rio Tinto has a long history of supporting economic development both in the Pilbara and regional WA. In 2016, Rio Tinto’s regional WA FIFO workforce was estimated to have generated a total spend of $424.5 million with a flow on economic impact of $184.7 million, creating almost 1,250 jobs.

“For Rio Tinto, we believe it’s important to contribute to the communities where we operate and our workforce in the South West have established deep connections to the region.”

“It’s great to see the City of Karratha and City of Busselton exploring initiatives like this to deliver positive outcomes for both the Pilbara and the South West.”

CEO at the City of Karratha, Chris Adams said workforce demand was increasing in the region.  

“With a number of major projects coming online in the very near future, the City of Karratha is poised for a significant uplift in economic activity and workforce demand across all sectors is expected to increase. 

While we are seeing more people choosing to move to Karratha for its attractive lifestyle and employment opportunities, we understand the important need to accommodate workers from outside the region.

Our goal in pursuing this opportunity is to make the system more efficient and user-friendly for those involved.”

Outcomes and objectives outlined in this statement align with Key Goal Area 4 in the City of Busselton’s Strategic Community Plan (2017): An Economy that is Diverse, Robust, and Prosperous.

Ends.

Media enquiries can be directed to Meredith.dixon@busselton.wa.gov.au