Not the promised land

Courier Mail

Mining jobs in Australia might not be all they are cracked up to be if an article and reports to the a Federal inquiry into Fly In- Fly Out employment practices are to be believed:

SIX-FIGURE salaries aren’t enough to stop one in three fly-in, fly-out workers from quitting within a year at mine sites across Western Australia, a parliamentary hearing into the industry will be told this week.

Problems with attrition rates, a culture of hard-drug abuse and the lack of family-friendly rosters will be key themes raised during the Perth hearings by the Federal Government’s inquiry into FIFO practices in regional Australia.

Witnesses giving evidence will include the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the Australian Medical Association, Fortescue Metals, Chevron Australia and the WA Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies.

Several written submissions to the inquiry, including a report by the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, say the attrition rate for FIFO workers is now one in three within a year.

CME spokesman Bruce Campbell-Fraser said the chamber would give evidence that some mine sites suffered from a turnover rate even higher than that.

“Some sites achieve much lower numbers (of attrition) and some achieve a bit worse . . . it depends on factors like accommodation, camp life, flights, heat, even dust levels,” Mr Campbell-Fraser said.

“But, there is no doubt that retention of the workforce is a key focus for everyone in the sector.”

Mr Campbell-Fraser said in recent years there had been a dramatic improvement in accommodation for FIFO workers.

But unions representing FIFO workers told The Sunday Times a “prison camp” culture existed at many sites with “petty and demeaning” rules imposed on staff.


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  • Blue Tim

    They need to harden up. My brother has been there (WA mines) since early 2000. He reckons for the $ he was getting and continued to get, he was/is happy to put up with a little bit of isolation. It’s not and never will be the Gold Coast.

    • Good thing about those camps is you wouldn’t have a nagging missus bending your ear to do the lawns.

      • Cactus Kate

        I can hear the slap you’ve just received from here WO.

      • Expat kiwi

        negotiate your package………… the mine company I work for mow my lawns. They hav people to do that!

  • Cactus Kate

    It sounds like a lot of expat jobs. Not the lifestyle for everyone. Which is why most are so well paid.

  • AngryTory

    Hmm – apparently 1/3rd of mineworkers are Kiwis

    Seems you can take the bludger out of Kiwiland
    But you can’t take the bludging out of a Kiwi!

  • SteveOves

    I work in a the Oil and Gas industry in NZ, and like the mines the pay is awesome but with time away and with long days, my experience is that most people do this type of work to make a lot of money in a short time to pay off the mortgage or take a big hit off it. 

    • Gazzaw

      I have a nephew who worked in the Pilbara for just as long as it took him to clear his student loan. Eleven months and he was on the first plane back to Perth and home. Mission accomplished!

  • Expat kiwi

    Ive been in Queensland Zinc mine now for 12 months. I am paid every fortnight no problem. Have accumulated superanuation, receive 6 weeks leave per year, and my kids are now enrolled in schools receiving mine funded training to work towards an apprenticeship setting them up for their lives. Get off your butts kiwis and join/ take the opportunities. NZ will always be home but Australia allows us to share in the resource boom.