Don't Stigmatise FIFO Employees

CME has slammed the Pilbara Regional Council’s Chief Executive for linking suicide and mental health to planning decisions.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) has slammed the Pilbara Regional Council’s Perth-based Chief Executive Tony Friday for linking suicide and mental health to planning decisions.

“Some in the community continue to stigmatise FIFO employees and perpetuate myths associated with FIFO, despite a growing bank of research which highlights FIFO employees share the same health and lifestyle outlook as other Western Australians”, said CME Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith.

“Every suicide is a tragic loss with far-reaching impacts. As a community we must all work together to reduce the prevalence of suicide across the whole of Western Australian society,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

Despite some recent assertions there may be a higher occurrence of mental health issues associated with FIFO employment, available research does not support these claims.

The extensive 2013 Commonwealth Parliamentary Inquiry into FIFO practices received no evidence that supported a claim that mental health issues were any higher in the FIFO worker population than in the wider workforce. The Inquiry ran for 18 months, received hundreds of submissions, visited numerous sites and held dozens of public hearings.

“Put simply, it’s a matter of choice for employees – a choice about where they live and where they choose to work” said Mr Howard-Smith.

CME has made a detailed submission to the State Parliamentary Inquiry into mental health and Fly In- Fly Out (FIFO) employees.