Riccardo Welters and Christopher Nicholas write in The Conversation (6.2.17) about the challenges faced by regional communities dealing with influxes of 'fly-in, fly-out' workforces. The authors argue that regions which offer adquate amenities for residents have the best chance of converting long-distance commuters into the sort of new residents who can sustain regional prosperity.
'Long-distance commuting between place of residence and place of work has been on the rise in Australia. It occurs when workers are unable to return home after their working day (usually due to distance), so a worker resides at the place of work for a set number of days before returning home for time off. The two most common forms are fly-in fly-out and drive-in drive-out.
'Using the most recent census data, combined with a region’s degree of remoteness, our research estimates the share of the workforce in a region that uses long-distance commuting. We then aimed to identify what type of regional characteristics influence that share.
'Our research shows that ensuring adequate amenities in regions is a key factor in converting long-distance commuters into migrants to that region. This, in turn, helps the region realise the associated economic benefits of the projects that employ such workers.'