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 http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/17596975/fifo-a-happier-way-for-some/
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.