Finally a good news story about FIFO


I was thrilled to read in today’s West Australian a good news story about FIFO. Not only did this newspaper name the family and show their faces but also the article mentioned some of the many positive things that come with the choice to be a FIFO family. Kasey Boutle mentions several things that I have been thinking about

one in particular centers around the aspirational nature of most Australian families and their willingness to try a different kind of work practice .. FIFO.. in order to meet such aspirational goals.

Below is an extract from a paper I am writing on this aspect of FIFO. After a discussion about the history of Australian mining and the residential mining town I talk about the changes in the Australian family ……

However, overriding these day to day issues is the fact that the Australian family household,  and the way it functions today, is much more complex than it was 40/50 years ago when residential mining towns were the norm in WA.


In the 21st century in many Australian households both partners work outside the home in either a full time or part time capacity.  Today decisions about where and how a family live are made after considering the needs of both partners and the children who form the nexus of that family unit. The immediate family networks and the broader social networks established by the primary care giver over many years are often too valuable to even consider a move to a site interstate or closer to one family member’s workplace.


Also the aspirational nature of most Australian families today sees them willing to work hard to earn a living but from that hard work, they expect to have a certain standard of housing, quality of living, access to health services, educational choice and social entertainments that can only be found in the modern urban environment.


With a population that has rising educated levels the current urban, educated expectation of what life looks like – will only continue to rise into the future. As mining operations expand across WA and QLD the demand for workers continues unabated.  In both states mining operations are expanding and will continue to do so for years to come. The FIFO work practise appears to now be the preferred choice not only for industry employers but also the thousands of workers, both company employees and contracted labour, who become FIFO workers as a conscious and positive work/life choice…………

What do you think about the aspirational nature of Australians and should this be one of the many issues that need to be discussed when we talk about the FIFO Work/Life choice? Is there more to this idea? Are you willing to share your experience? Please ask your friends and let me know what you think.



One thought on “Finally a good news story about FIFO

  1. Hannah

    HI Linette,

    I enjoyed reading the excerpt and whole heartedly agree that this is definitely a crucial part of why us FIFO families chose to live as we do. My husband works FIFO in Qld on an even time roster. Because he has been willing to make this sacrifice for our family, instead of joining the ranks of many of my peers and returning to the workforce and putting my kids into childcare, I have had the privilege of being a full time mum and seeing my children all the way into their first years at school. My children have also have the privilege of having a father at home (albeit only 50% of the time), who is able to drop them and pick them off from school, attend school and sports events and actually know their lives rather than rushing in and out of the fringes of their lives each day in the guise of being at home ‘full time’.

    I do not understand why we should be frowned upon for wanting to enjoy our lives in an urban environment where there are opportunities for all members of our family to pursue their individual interests. We have tried living in a country mining town (when my husband first started working in the Resources sector), and we know 100% that life in the country is not for us. We are thriving as a family back in the Sunshine Coast where thanks to my husband’s hard work we enjoy a good quality of life with everything that a larger town has to offer. Living somewhere with so many things to do and where we are not restricted by having to drive for hours to reach entertainment and variety, means that the time my husband spends at home is very high quality time and we make the most of the time we have together as a family every other week when he is home.

    In the meantime a larger town means that I am better supported when I am parenting on my own. I am less isolated and feel less trapped than I did as a stay at home mum on her own with three kids in the middle of nowhere. I enjoy the fact that the medical facilities and schools are better services in a more urban setting and I don’t have to worry about traveling an hour and a half to get to the nearest large hospital, or X-ray centre, or Chemist if its a Sunday – these are important things when you are parenting on your own for periods of a time.

    I believe both my husband and myself and my kids have earned the right to enjoy this lifestyle by making the choice to live and work the way we do as a FIFO family. We have managed to achieve a lifestyle where work is only a part of our lives and where our main focus is living. It is harder to remove yourself mentally from the mining scene when living in a mining town – which for my husband and myself made his work a focus of our lives when we lived in the country. Now my husband’s work is a means to an end and our actual life is our focus.

    Admittedly with any way of life there are challenges and we have made a point to review regularly how and if our lifestyle is working for us. We have made a choice for my husband not to pursue more lucrative contracts with a longer period away than at home and that is a choice that is important for us. Each family though has different levels of resilience and different needs for different stages of their own unique evolution. What I know from my experience is that it is important to be honest with one another as to what is really working for everyone. The FIFO lifestyle is and always has been an active choice for us and we have found a way to make it work very well for us and to give us the opportunity to work towards our own financial and lifestyle ambitions. I hope and believe that other families have had a chance to enjoy some of these very positive advantages of the FIFO lifestyle.

    I think the work that FIFOfamilies does in offering support to everyone involved in this way of life is terrific and thank you for your time and energy in this area.

    Kind regards,

    Hannah Ekman


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