Sex infections and mental health problems trouble FIFO workers

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Sexually transmitted infections, relationship breakdowns, and parenting difficulties are the most common issues for doctors treating fly-in fly-out workers, according to the Australian Medical Association of WA.

The AMA will give evidence at the Federal Government’s parliamentary inquiry into FIFO work at Perth today and tomorrow.

According to The West Australian AMA WA president Dave Mountain said FIFO workers were often returning home with "significant rates" of STIs.

"Obviously there is high-risk behaviour going on and it’s not just the workers themselves, it’s their families or their partners or other casual relationships they have where the ongoing spread is significant," he said.

Mountain said more than 80 per cent of medical professionals surveyed thought mining companies should make contributions to local health services.

Yesterday mining unions and industry representatives argued the tough working conditions of some FIFO rosters were contributing to alarming rates of attrition.

A report by the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy marks the attrition rate for FIFO workers at one in three within a year and the CFMEU and other organisations say the rate could be higher.

The Maritime Union of Australia said some workers on Chevron’s Gorgon project in WA had a 26 days on nine days off roster, and were turning to hard drug use because of a rise in companies using urine tests.

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