Publication Details

Skilton, N. (2015). Re-imagining geographic labour mobility through 'distance labour'. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 74 (3), 364-369.


Geographic labour mobility is necessary for increasing productivity in Australia. Long-distance commuting has been found to be especially significant. However, important considerations are being excluded from policy discussions within the Productivity Commission on this topic. This commentary covers these important omissions. They are, namely, the problematic conflation of the terminologies of 'fly-in, fly-out' and 'long-distance commuting' with mining, and a lack of qualitative research investigating the material impacts of these labour practices on people's lives. This commentary puts forward a new terminology, 'distance labour', to better include those industries on the margins of distance commuting. By accounting for the social worlds of workers engaged in distance labour, the Productivity Commission could increase the validity of its datasets, and provide more egalitarian policy recommendations.



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