Western Australia is urging fly-in fly-out workers to move to the state permanently, saying it would be better for their families and boost the local economy amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Chamber of Minerals and Energy figures show up to 6000 interstate and international resource workers travel back and forth to WA every couple of weeks.
With the state border closed, about half those workers made WA their temporary home during the pandemic, many with their families.
The WA government and chamber are launching a campaign to convince those often high-paid workers to settle in the state for good.
“My government will now look at opportunities to incentivise these people to remain in Western Australia,” Premier Mark McGowan told reporters on Friday.
“This is a huge opportunity to get those people to come and live here with their families permanently and keep their incomes right here in WA.”
He said frequent long-distance commuting was “clearly bad for your family life”, while a second wave of coronavirus would mean more disruption.
“Clearly living in the state in which you work makes a lot of sense,” the premier said.
“It’s about boosting our economy and having something tangible and real that’s come out of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Some of the incentives would relate to housing, he said. The sector agreed recruiting locally was more desirable.
“The recruitment of interstaters is really something that needs to stop and the companies agree with that,” Mr McGowan said.
No new cases of the virus emerged in WA overnight.
There are no longer any patients in hospital, with the person who was in intensive care on Thursday no longer positive for COVID-19.
A Health Department spokeswoman said the person remained in hospital, however, with other health issues.
The state has only seven active cases, including one in the Goldfields region.
After the latest national cabinet meeting, WA has resolved to ramp up elective surgery from about one-quarter of the usual capacity to at least 50 per cent from Monday.
Categories one and two will remain the priority, but category three will resume with priority given those who have waited longest.
Mr McGowan said elective surgery rates could potentially lift to 75 per cent of capacity after a fortnight.