The findings of a fresh report into the impact of FIFO on mental health provides a compelling reason for resource companies to shift towards residential workforces, according to The Nationals WA.
Released today, the report was commissioned by the Mental Health Commission and led by Curtin University’s Centre for Transformative Work Design.
Leader Mia Davies said the report, which found FIFO workers were almost twice as likely to experience high levels of psychological stress than non-FIFO workers, showed a paradigm shift towards residential workforces was required.
“A third of FIFO workers experience high to very high levels of psychological distress, which is an alarming proportion of the 60,000-strong workforce,” she said.
“Unsurprisingly, this isn’t confined to those undertaking FIFO, but their partners and families who are impacted by loneliness, parenting pressures and communication difficulty.
Ms Davies said the McGowan Government needed to get serious about transitioning industries away from fly-in, fly-out and shifting towards residential workforces.
“The Nationals in Government used Royalties for Regions to build infrastructure and improve services to so our regional towns and centres became more liveable,” she said.
“Attracting residents and business to communities is an essential ingredient of regional development. Unfortunately the McGowan Government is using RfR to pay for essential services rather than helping our regional communities grow.”
The research found those doing FIFO were generally at higher risk of suicide, prone to burnout, more likely to drink and use drugs as well as suffer from isolation, job insecurity, lack of quality sleep and exposure to bullying.
Deputy Leader and Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Jacqui Boydell said it was incumbent on industry and the McGowan Government to make changes that improved mental health and wellbeing outcomes.
“Instead of shirking responsibility, it’s time the McGowan Government and resources sector took the lead to minimise the impact FIFO is having on workers and their families,” she said.
“A good starting point for Government would be adopting The Nationals WA policy of phasing out FIFO work camps from locations within 60km of existing towns and regional centres.
“This report’s findings send a strong signal to the McGowan Government that it needs to implement a state-wide policy that will ultimately reduce WA’s reliance on FIFO.”