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Title: Crime Talk, FIFO workers and Cultural Conflict on the Mining Boom Frontier
Contributor(s): Carrington, Kerry  (author); Hogg, Russell  (author); McIntosh, Alison F (author); Scott, John  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2012
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Australia is experiencing an unprecedented expansion in mining due to intense demand from Asian economies thirsty for Australia's non-renewable resources, with over $260 billion worth of capital investment currently in the pipeline (BREE 10). The scale of the present boom, coupled with the longer-term intensification of competitiveness in the global resources sector, is changing the very nature of mining operations in Australia. Of particular note is the increasingly heavy reliance on a non-resident workforce, currently sourced from within Australia but with some recent proposals for projects to draw on overseas guest workers. This is no longer confined, as it once was, to remote, short-term projects or to exploration and construction phases of operations, but is emerging as the preferred industry norm. Depending upon project location, workers may either fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) or drive-in, drive-out (DIDO), the critical point being that these operations are frequently undertaken in or near established communities. Drawing primarily on original fieldwork in one of Australia's mining regions at the forefront of the boom, this paper explores some of the local impacts of new mining regimes, in particular their tendency to undermine collective solidarities, promote social division and fan cultural conflict. Rising housing and living costs, heavy vehicle congestion on major transport corridors, intense pressure on tourist and visitor accommodation and other services also undermine the viability of local tourist operations. Many communities are undergoing profound economic and social upheaval. Rising local crime and disorder constitute a visible symbol of the unwelcome effects of change. Beyond the often unquantifiable impacts on actual crime levels, there is the social and psychological role of local 'crime talk' as a vehicle for expressing widely shared anxieties about the erosion of the long-term sustainability of mining communities. As we will endeavour to show, the influx of FIFO in large numbers almost certainly (and unsurprisingly) increases local crime problems, as it does a wide range of other social stresses in these communities. But local crime talk centred on the actual and perceived crime problems introduced by FIFO also serves as a powerful means for those who otherwise feel powerless and silenced in the face of overwhelming forces to ventilate their resentments and frustrations.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Grant Details: ARC/DP0878476
Source of Publication: Australian Humanities Review (53), p. 1-14
Publisher: Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL)
Place of Publication: Australian National University, Australia
ISSN: 1835-8063
Field of Research (FOR): 160299 Criminology not elsewhere classified
160204 Criminological Theories
160201 Causes and Prevention of Crime
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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