Back in July a lot happened behind the scenes that bodes well for a growing FIFO workforce and their families. The National Mental Health Commission held its July Commission meeting in South Headland. The commission staff came from Sydney to the Pilbara to specifically understand the issues affecting FIFO workers and their families. Today as I rang the commission asking if any report or paper had been written after the July meeting I was told by a most helpful receptionist that the office was in overdrive as it was preparing briefing notes to be presented to the new government later in the afternoon. As a I put down the phone I felt a surge of hope for what is possible and what potentially these new briefing notes might say about the need to support FIFO families.
I wonder what will happen when enthusiastic fresh eyes gaze upon the issues affecting FIFO workers and their families across Australia?
When Tony Abbot spoke on Saturday night I wondered, how will a management team that is lead by a man determined to grow business and look after the people who are the “lifters not the leaners”, make a positive impact in our community? What will he and his Ministers do to support FIFO families and what will it look like?
Today the realists can only hope and believe that behind the words, the blue tie and the party line Mr Abbot has the discipline of a dedicated worker and the compassion of a loyal family man and will make the necessary steps toward supporting FIFO families.
What he said that gave me hope was;
“A good government, a good government is one that governs for all Australians. Including those who haven’t voted for it. A good government is one with a duty to help everyone to maximise his or her potential. Indigenous people. People with disabilities. And our forgotten families, as well as those who Menzies described as lifters, not leaners. We will not leave anyone behind.”
For the FIFO “lifters” in our community who are working away let’s hope the suggested changes to the Fringe benefits Tax on travel and commuting do not happen. For the FIFO family “lifters” in our community who are working long hours shouldering the emotional and physical responsibilities at home we hope that this new government pays attention and recognises the need for social and cultural innovation and change on the domestic front.
The army of FIFO partners guiding the next generation and managing their domestic environments are the real “lifters” in our community and in truth the “lifters” who have received the least attention from anyone to date. Let’s hope that Tony and his team see more clearly the reality of the Australian working story as it is today and support the work of all the “lifters” working in our culture – particularly those men and women who are the FIFO “lifters”.