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Unions condemn Barnett Government inaction on FIFO suicides

The joint leadership of the Western Australian AMWU, ETU and CFMEU, along with families of FIFO workers have condemned the Barnett Government’s failure to implement the recommendations of the bi-partisan Parliamentary inquiry into the Impact of FIFO Work Practices on Mental Health as they presented a petition calling for urgent change to Parliament.

The three unions, who collectively represent thousands of Western Australian FIFO workers, today presented a petition containing 4,800 signatures to Dr Graham Jacobs MLA calling on the Barnett Government to immediately implement the reports recommendations.

When the Barnett Government released its response to the Committee’s report in October 2015, it supported less than half the report’s 30 recommendations.

Sharon Johnson, FIFO widow and FIFO mental health and suicide prevention campaigner, has expressed her frustration and disappointment at the Barnett Government’s inaction on this important issue.

”We know things have to change, and we have the blueprint, but still nothing seems to be happening.”

“How much more urgent can it be? How many more do we have to lose?”

AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney said unions and FIFO families were deeply concerned about the Barnett Government’s ongoing failure to implement any of the key recommendations from the report.

“Unions pushed for this inquiry and we welcomed the bipartisan report, which made a number of important recommendations including the establishment of a Code of Practice to address FIFO work arrangements and the negative impacts on employee’s mental health,” said Mr McCartney.

“All we’ve seen from the Barnett Government since the report was tabled, is inaction and a blatant disregard for FIFO workers and their families.

“Reform is desperately needed in the FIFO sector, and yet the State Government has abandoned hard working Western Australians and continues to put the big end of town first.”

VIDEO: Sharon Johnson and AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney on why this fight is so important for FIFO families

CFMEU State Secretary Mick Buchan said that it is extremely disappointing that the Barnett Government has dragged its feet on the report’s key recommendations.

“The recommendations offered a clear path forward to address the negative impacts of FIFO work arrangements on workers, their families and the WA community, but the State Government has sat on its hands while many FIFO workers and their families continue to do it tough.

“It is simply not good enough to let the report gather dust on a shelf, it is time for the Barnett Government to take the report seriously and implement the recommendations. We need real change for FIFO workers.

“Worker health and wellbeing must always come first and we will continue to campaign for operational and cultural change to improve FIFO practices for workers and their families.”

ETU State President Greg Wilton said the Barnett Government had rejected an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of FIFO workers and their families.

“We expected the Liberal State Government to take the recommendations from what was a bipartisan report seriously.

“The pressures that current work practices in the FIFO sector place on workers wellbeing and mental health are unacceptable, and demand a formal Code of Practice be implemented as a matter of urgency.”

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