FIFO damages regional communities: report

A new report examining the impacts FIFO and DIDO has on the community was released today exposing the downsides of using a transient workforce.

The Standing Committee on Regional Australia spent almost 18 months examining how FIFO and DIDO affected workers, their families and regional communities.

The findings of the 209-page report were tabled in Parliament this morning, making 21 recommendations to government and 14 to industry including better resourcing communities under pressure from large FIFO and DIDO workforces and removing tax benefits for companies using transient workforces.

Independent MP Tony Windsor, who chaired the committee, wrote in the report's foreword that governments of all levels needed to recognise and act on the issues going on in regional communities.

“….the work practice is eroding the liveability of some regional communities to such an extent that it is increasingly removing the choice to ‘live-in’ rather than simply ‘cash-in,” Windsor wrote.

"Regional communities need a champion. This report calls for a champion."

"It recognises that there are some circumstances where FIFO/DIDO is warranted – for construction and very remote operations.

"But for operational positions located near existing regional communities, every effort should be made to make FIFO/DIDO the exception rather than the rule."

CFMEU national president Tony Maher said mining companies should be made to prove there is no reasonable alternative before being allowed to have a FIFO work base.

“It’s time the mining companies were held to account for the damage they are inflicting on regional communities, workers and their families,” he said.

“The impacts of FIFO and DIDO work arrangements on individuals, families, communities and the broader economy are so great that decisions should not rest on mining companies’ bottom lines.”

Maher wants mining companies to invest in communities and build towns so that workers have options around living arrangements.

“Often, workers are given no choice to live in a community with their family – FIFO and DIDO are the only options.”

“Over time we are seeing the fallout from FIFO – diminishing services in regional areas, social discord with large groups of single men camped on the edge of country towns, and the growing failure of mining companies to invest in training for young Australians.”

The report has called for more comprehensive research into the impact of FIFO/DIDO on both regional communities and FIFO/DIDO workers, families and children to be conducted.

The committee also recommends that the Commonwealth develop a best-practice guide for employers with significant non-resident workforces aimed at assisting them to develop their own family support programs.

You can read the full report here.

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