THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
Friday, 15 February 2013 12:10
WA's fly-in, fly-out workers have hit back at recent criticism of their behaviour, claiming most are mature family men keen to become part of the communities in which they work.
A parliamentary report tabled this week found communities believed FIFOs contributed to violence, predatory behaviour and alcohol and drug use in towns.
It was suggested that workers should sign "social contracts" to ensure good citizenship.
Atlas Iron haulage and port operations manager Mark Secrette said he would have no problem signing such a document because concerns relating to the State's 90,000 fly-in, fly-out workers were "overhyped" and largely unfounded.
Nicole Ashby, the director of support group FIFO Families, said she was aware of issues created by a minority of workers in regional towns but overarching criticism was unwarranted.
"The average age of a FIFO worker is between 40 and 43, so it's not that young, drunk, cashed-up bogan that is quite often portrayed," Mrs Ashby said.
"Fifty per cent of FIFO workers are married with kids and 70 per cent are in long-term relationships. FIFOs do quite often cop a bad rap."
Lakelands resident Davy Loisel, a six-year veteran of the FIFO lifestyle, said times had changed since his first roster.
"The reason for that is health and safety on site," Mr Loisel said. "Back in the day it was OK to drink every night. It was something everybody did.
"Regular drug and breath testing has changed the whole culture. The community is holding on to thoughts of how things used to be."
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