Is mining being let down?

Sunset in the Australian outback

The Western Australian Government's inquiry into the impact of FIFO work practices on mental health was tabled in Parliament on 18 June 2015. Has anything been done since then?

The concept of an inquiry into the impact of FIFO work practices on mental health first came about in 2014. Has anything changed at the government level since? And what resources are available to help everyone working away from home for extended periods?

The Western Australian Government’s inquiry into the impact of FIFO work practices on mental health was tabled in Parliament on 18 June 2015. The inquiry had commenced in August the year before. In that report, there are several mentions, additions and inclusions into the Western Australia Work Health and Safety (Resources) Bill.

Fast forward to 12 July this year. The WA Government released a media statement approving a ‘Work Health and Safety Bill’ that will “modernise and consolidate workplace health and safety regulations”.  This is expected to be introduced to Parliament mid-2019.

What of the recommendations, additions and inclusions first tabled in 2015? What of the changes to legislation recommended in the inquiry?

Three years has passed since the inquiry commenced and it seems there are still two years to wait until there is any significant action from the government.

Where to now?

The inquiry also focused on what companies could do. (these are listed in pages 95 to 127 of the report.) It is likely a lot of companies have initiated some of these actions. It is also probable that new initiatives and actions were delayed, as a result of economic conditions we’ve experienced recently.

This whole situation reminded me of the comments in the US following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change. In the US, despite the president’s decision, local government, corporations and small businesses stated their ongoing commitment to working towards the targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Maybe teams, work groups and individual operations can now be the equivalent change leaders in the mining industry?

Need some help on finding resources? Here are some of the websites quoted in the report.


R U OK’s mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect and check in with people around them.

This FIFO Life

This is a site telling the stories and experiences of people in FIFO that was set up by the Government of Western Australia’s Mental Health Commission.

FIFO Families

FIFO Families’ mission is to assist transient and long-distance commute workers and their partners and families to build strong relationships, grow healthy local communities and to help navigate a successful working away lifestyle.

FIFO Facts

An initiative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the site provides information to people considering FIFO and support to those in FIFO roles

Perhaps, like the grass roots response to climate initiatives in the US, we can all look at what can be done to make a difference.  Let me know what initiatives your company, site or team has commenced.