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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1328 asked in the Legislative Council on 6 December 2018 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Minister responding: Hon W.J. Johnston
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 6 December 2018

MENTAL HEALTH — FLY IN, FLY OUT WORKERS

1328. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Industrial Relations:

I believe this question has been redirected to the Minister for Regional Development representing the Minister for Commerce and Industrial Relations. I refer to the report released by the Mental Health Commission ''Impact of FIFO work arrangements on the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers'' and the subsequent statement by the government supporting the recommendations of the report.

(1) How does the government intend to work with companies who support a fly in, fly out workforce to implement the recommendations outlined in the report?

(2) Will the government commit to adopting a policy that minimises the mental health risk of FIFO workers by limiting FIFO camps to areas more than 60 kilometres from existing regional towns?

(3) If no to (2), why not?

(4) How does the government plan to reduce WA's reliance on a FIFO workforce and deliver improved mental health benefits for workers in Western Australia?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question.

(1)–(4) The latest research information relating to the mental health of FIFO workers and their families was incorporated into the draft code of practice, entitled ''Mentally healthy workplaces for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers in the resources and construction sectors''. The code will be published in 2019 along with online guidance, tools and other resources to support its integration into safe systems of work intended to improve mental health outcomes for employees.

The role of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is to regulate safety in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Mines Safety and Inspection Act, which legislate that, as far as is practicable, employees not be exposed to hazards at work. All new mining operations are required to submit a project management plan to the department, which includes identification of all major risks relevant to the operation and a summary of the strategies to manage those risks.

Western Australia has a significant FIFO workforce servicing the resources sector due to the remote nature of many of Western Australia's resources operations. FIFO work can have a significant impact in the complex area of mental health and wellbeing. As such, it is important to find suitable controls to manage these risks, regardless of work arrangements in use.