Show some respect for FIFO families, say WA Greens
Date:Monday, April 30, 2012
Following a recent Federal inquiry into the impact of fly-in, fly-out work practices in Perth, WA Greens spokesperson for Communities Alison Xamon has called for a focus on the many benefits that FIFO workers bring to families and communities.
“A mining-based FIFO workforce is here to stay and as such we need an approach that supports families and communities,” Ms Xamon said.
“The issue of creating family-friendly remote towns in the future is a complex one, but the fact is that for many of today’s families, FIFO works for them.
“Commentators must stop vilifying these families or characterising them as bad parents just because of the working and family arrangements they have chosen.
“Labels like ‘home wreckers’, ‘cashed up bogans’, and ‘parasites’, all of which have been used to describe FIFO workers, are deeply offensive and can contribute to social isolation.
“This is discriminatory and hurtful and ordinary Western Australians are being targeted.
“This type of labelling is damaging because it can prevent people from asking for help when they need it.
“For many of these workers, a FIFO job can be a sensible choice for creating a stable financial base for a family.
“It is therefore imperative that FIFO arrangements take into account the needs of families – starting with ensuring that people are working within negotiated, family-friendly industrial agreements.
“We also need to ensure the provision of adequate services in Perth for families.
Ms Xamon commended the Shire of Kalamunda which is seeking funding for a digital community hub in Forrestfield to support FIFO families.
The hub would encompass community servicing rooms for online health and allied health service support, on line financial and personal/crisis counselling service, a digital networking infrastructure to enable community consultation and a gaming and media/dance space for local youth. A FIFO digital family room with conferencing facilities would link to mining sites to provide “face time” to FIFO families with young children
“This is exactly the type of innovative service that could be easily established and funded by resources companies to provide support for their FIFO workforce,” Ms Xamon said.
“Parenting is not easy for any family, and it is time we started treating these families with some respect.”