On Wednesday 13 February 2013, the House Standing Committee on Regional Australia tabled its report on the inquiry into the use of "fly-in, fly-out" (FIFO) workforce practices in regional Australia entitled Cancer of the bush or salvation for our cities? Fly-in, fly-out and drive-in, drive-out workforce practices in Regional Australia.
The parliamentary inquiry has heard fly-in fly-out work pays very well and provides large blocks of time off but it is also damaging some communities, where health and other services are under pressure. It also found FIFOs are not participating in community life.
The inquiry chairman Tony Windsor says the high cost and low supply of housing means many workers choose to "cash in" rather than living in the communities. He says all levels of government need to provide an opportunity for workers to live full-time in the communities where they are employed. "There could be incentives put in place to encourage people to reside in the community rather than the current practice," he said. "When you analyse it the incentives are not to live in the community and that's a shocking indictment."
The chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia Mitch Hooke says the report is upsetting. "Most people in our industry will take that as being quite offensive, to liken their choice of work arrangements as a cancer on regional Australia. I think it just underscores the continuing challenge about what community engagement's all about, what social stewardship is all about."
Report says FIFO damaging regional communities (ABC News)