Shire defends FIFO decision at council meeting
The Shire of Ashburton has defended its use of fly-in, flyout staff after public questions in a council meeting as to why they were not being sourced solely from a pool of locals.
Twelve out of about 200 staff, who work for the local government, are employed on a FIFO or drive-in, drive-out basis in Tom Price and Onslow.
Shire of Ashburton president Kerry White stressed the numbers varied depending on the Shire’s needs and market supply, saying staff fluctuated with demand created by projects within the Shire.
“The portion of those employed on a FIFO roster is affected by skill demand and local availability,” she said. “It is also important to note that the FIFO staff employed by the Shire are on very different arrangements to those in other sectors. For example, commuting travel is in the employee’s own time, most still work online remotely when in their “off” swing, staff pay for their own food, they have weekends and weeknights off while on location, most have local social circles and are involved in the local community… all contribute to the local economy.”
Mrs White said the four staff employed remotely had all lived in Shire towns and became “remote” workers because the Shire preferred to retain their skills and knowledge instead of going through expensive recruitment processes to attract replacements.
“It is agreed that if every Shire staff member could be found locally, this would be beneficial for the community the Shire is representing,” she said.
“This organisation needs to provide a range of flexible employment options to ensure it minimises its staff turnover levels and maintains operational efficiency.”