Positive steps start with simple acknowledgement

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When the impact of FIFO is affecting a community to such an extent that the community is acting and educating itself to help manage that impact then two really positive and important things are happening.

1. Individuals and their issues are being acknowledge, considered and taken seriously.

2. A collective of individuals and or groups have worked together to address and create a program that deals with identified issues or problems.

When some FIFO kids started to miss out on school every third Tuesday members of the FIFO support community and an innovative school principal from WA’s Comet Bay got together to work out a solution. Support organization FIFO families worked with Principal Matt Osbourne to develop and deliver a program that address issues seen in the FIFO families at Comet Bay Primary School. In a school of 1,000 kids the numbers of FIFO kids is today around 300.

The wife of a fly-in, fly-out worker Anne MacKay with daughter Lucy, 10, talks to Comet Bay Primary School principal Matt Osborne about the new link the school has made with the FIFO Families WA network.Anne MacKay with daughter Lucy, 10, talks to Comet Bay Primary School principal Matt Osborne.

This pilot program was launched last month and is destined to be the first of many workshops that address the very serious issues faced by partners who stays at home to care for their children and run the household while the FIFO worker is away.

As this vital yet largely invisible army of unpaid workers (mostly women) gets the acknowledgment, recognition, support and education they need – to stay physically and emotionally well, do the job of managing children/household and support the FIFO worker all at the same time, – things will improve for all, the stay at home partners, the children, FIFO workers, the family, the community and the industries who employ FIFO workers.

When recognition, support and education is given on an ongoing basis we can all do a better job.  When we extend that notion outside the workplace to include our schools and most importantly our family home all individuals become empowered.

Principal Osborne said something that has a deep lesson for all of us and resonates with last week’s post about asking are you ok?  He said;

“There are lots of challenges that people don’t talk about, those challenges are what isolation and stress do to people, and mental health is the cornerstone to all of this — if mum is not right, the kids aren’t right,” he said.

“You cannot deal with education in isolation. The FIFO lifestyle affects a fair proportion of the community and I think as a school we want to get a greater understanding of where people are coming from and the challenges that they have.”


When we acknowledge and support someone we are all acknowledged and supported in some small way. Acknowledge, Consider, Create, Communicate.

Who can you acknowledge and support today? Has giving free, empowering acknowledgement and support helped you in your life? How?


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