FIFO service on the cards for Whitsunday mine workers
A COMMUTE to work that currently takes three-and-a-half hours could soon take just 48 minutes under a Whitsunday man's ambitious plan targeted at mine workers.
Phil Batty is pushing for a charter service that would fly workers to and from Moranbah from Whitsunday Coast Airport.
Mr Batty argued that a chartered flight would not only slash travel time for miners but also draw more residents to the Whitsundays, which he said would be a win for businesses and the local economy.
Census data from 2016 revealed 151 people living in Cannonvale, or 5.6 per cent of residents, worked in coal mining.
Mr Batty suspected across the region and over the past four years this number would have increased, so he called for expressions of interest for the flights over Facebook.
Interest was "off the charts" as workers contacted him to support a quicker, easier and safer option to travel to the mines.
"I now know demand is there, I just need to figure out how to meet the demand," Mr Batty said.
"For the mines it's about safety, productivity and convenience. If you come off a night shift at the mines you're not allowed to then get in your car and come home, you then have to stay another day … which the company have to pay for.
"From a safety aspect it means no fatigue, no accidents on the roads (and) no delays in wet season due to road closures."
Mr Batty said a flight service also had the potential to draw more permanent residents to the region and that would provide a welcome boost for businesses.
"I think the bigger side of it is it's a reason for people who live in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and elsewhere to come and live here," he said.
"If you can buy a house and land package and know that you can get a flight, why would you FIFO out to Melbourne and Sydney where you pay a million dollars for your house when you can come and live in paradise?
"I think there's a secondary market about making this place more attractive to more miners that can come and live here because of convenience.
"It's about growing this place bigger than it is and getting a load more families into town so that daycare, schools, restaurants, everything goes a little better.
"And if I were coming back from the mines after seven days on, I'd want to come here and take my boat and go fishing."
Mr Batty said there were "a lot of hurdles" before his idea would become a reality but he was already in talks with several businesses about how to get the plan off the ground, literally.
Anyone who wishes to express their interest in chartered flights for miners was encouraged to phone Mr Batty on 0419916736 or by emailing Philip.email@example.com