FIFO men­tal health re­sponse ‘ap­palling’

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

State Govern­ment has been crit­i­cised for in­ac­tion in com­mit­ting to any of the rec­om­men­da­tions made by a re­port into the men­tal health of fly-in, fly-out work­ers more than a year ago.

The in­quiry into the im­pact of FIFO work prac­tices on men­tal health rec­om­mended 30 ac­tions be taken to curb the spate of sui­cides and men­tal health prob­lems af­fect­ing in­dus­tries us­ing FIFO work­forces. Last week, FIFO men­tal health and sui­cide pre­ven­tion cam­paigner Sharon John­son, a widow of a for­mer FIFO worker, said the lack of ac­tion had been frus­trat­ing.

“We know things have to change, and we have the blue­print, but still noth­ing seems to be hap­pen­ing,” she said.

“How much more ur­gent can it be? How many more do we have to lose?”

Shadow men­tal health minister Stephen Daw­son said in­dus­try and the Govern­ment needed to be more proac­tive in ad­dress­ing FIFO men­tal health is­sues.

“The Lib­eral-Na­tional Govern­ment’s re­sponse to this re­port has been ap­palling,” he said.

“A cross-party com­mit­tee looked into this se­ri­ous is­sue and brought back sen­si­ble rec­om­men­da­tions only for Govern­ment to dis­count many of them.

“The Lib­eral-Na­tional Govern­ment’s lack of ac­tion in tack­ling the scourge of sui­cide gives me no con­fi­dence that they treat this is­sue se­ri­ously.”

The Aus­tralian Man­u­fac­turThe ing Work­ers Union, Elec­tri­cal Trades Union, and Con­struc­tion, Forestry, Min­ing and En­ergy Union pre­sented a pe­ti­tion with more than 4000 sig­na­tures call­ing on the Govern­ment to im­ple­ment the re­port’s rec­om­men­da­tions last week.

AMWU State sec­re­tary Steve McCart­ney said fam­i­lies were con­cerned about the Govern­ment’s failure to im­ple­ment any of the re­ports rec­om­men­da­tions.

“Re­form is des­per­ately needed in the FIFO sec­tor, and yet the State Govern­ment has aban­doned hard­work­ing Western Aus­tralians and con­tin­ues to put the big end of town first,” he said.

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