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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 533 asked in the Legislative Council on 4 June 2019 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Minister responding: Hon R.H. Cook
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 4 June 2019

FLY IN, FLY OUT WORKERS — MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION REPORT

533. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the parliamentary secretary representing the Minister for Mental Health:

I refer to an article published in the North West Telegraph of 22 May 2019 with the headline ''Seven-step FIFO lifeline'' and which makes reference to the ''Impact of FIFO Work Arrangements on the Mental Health and Well-being of FIFO Workers'' report handed down by the Mental Health Commission in September 2018.

(1) Which, if any, of the 18 recommendations made in the report have the government adopted and implemented?

(2) What does the government intend to do to mitigate the increased risks around drug and alcohol misuse that the FIFO workforce often demonstrates?

(3) Does the government accept that the FIFO lifestyle is detrimental for workers' mental health and that steps should be taken to move towards residential workforces wherever practical?

Hon ALANNA CLOHESY replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1) There are 18 recommendations from the report, including rosters and shift patterns that provide better rest time, permanent rooms at accommodation sites and building local community connections. The 18 recommendations in the report require action by the mining and construction industry, unions and individuals working in the fly in, fly out sector. The minister encourages the implementation of the recommendations, which aim to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of the FIFO workforce, by relevant organisations. The recommendations complement the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety code of practice, ''Mentally Healthy Workplaces for FIFO Workers in the Resources and Construction Sectors'', which was in part informed by the research and was released on 2 April 2019. The code of practice provides guidance on creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace for workplaces in Western Australia that utilise FIFO work arrangements.

(2) The code of practice recognises the misuse of alcohol or other drugs as being a psychosocial hazard or risk factor for poor mental health outcomes. The misuse of AOD is a whole-of-community issue, which includes the FIFO workforce, and government is working to address this through the implementation of various demand, supply and harm reduction strategies.

(3) The government accepts the findings from the research and subsequent report, ''Impact of FIFO Work Arrangements on the Mental Health and Well-being of FIFO Workers''. The government also encourages the implementation of strategies that align with the code of practice and that aim to address hazards and risk factors for the FIFO workforce.