The commodity boom has enriched miners everywhere, but perhaps nowhere more than in Western Australia.
Case in point, there is now a magazine called Minestyle which “celebrates all that’s great about working in the lucrative mining industry, the perfect read for those who love the good life.”
The magazine itself is fairly generic, but the idea of coal miners reading about wine, fashion and travel is amusing. Especially considering the other stories you hear about Aussie miners.
A upcoming book by Michael Casey, The Unfair Trade, describes the blue collar workers taking over Perth:
No longer do white-collar professions dominate the ranks of the wealthy. Thanks to the constant demand for Fly-In-Fly-Out labour from the far-off mines, as well as from the massive Northwest Shelf Natural Gas project off the state’s northern coast, Perth has become a city of well-to-do blue-collar workers. And they are not only led by itinerant miners; the construction workers and the laborers who live off the mining-fuelled housing boom are also doing well. Whereas the city’s wealth once lay among the lawyers, doctors, and merchant bankers who lived in older mansions in the leafy suburbs of the western reaches of the Swan River, the spending power is now found among blue-collar workers in other parts. Plumbers, electricians, roofers, cabinetmarkers—these are the plum jobs to have in Perth now. Meanwhile, miners are the new elite…
Of course the miners don’t always behave.
Historically, there has been a higher degree of substance abuse among Fly-In-Fly-Out workers on- and off-site. Strict new drug and alcohol testing by employers means the mining camps themselves aren’t the same wild, heavy-drinking places they once were, but the separation from families means indulgences are still taken to the extreme. Ironically, new rules requiring that workers take a day off to recuperate after 10 straight work sessions mean that many can be found at the local pub on those days, where they do more damage to their health than if they’d stayed working. And when they’re back in Perth with money in their pocket, these transient workers play hard. Qantas eventually stopped serving alcohol on FIFO flights in Western Australia, and flight attendants were given special rage alarms to deal with unruly drunken miners on board… [T]here are signs that violence is increasing in Perth generally. This rise is occurring at the same time that many young men are flying in with money to burn. Local media in Perth were running stories in 2010 and 2011 about an epidemic of “glassings” in city nightspots, which saw an average of nine people every month having their faces slashed by broken glass.
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