By Samantha James

October 15, 2015

THE WA State Government has vowed to work with the Mining Industry Advisory Committee (MIAC) to address several recommendations made in a parliamentary report into the mental health impact on fly in, fly out workers in the resources industry.

Mines and Petroleum minister Bill Marmion said the government had carefully considered the report by the Education and Health Standing Committee, which recommended 30 actions to improve workers’ mental health.

“The health and safety of workers in the resources industry is one of the government’s highest priorities,” he said.

“Mental health is a community-wide concern and any information highlighting factors influencing the incidence of mental health issues among vulnerable sections of the community is welcomed.

“We will now work with the MIAC and the Mental Health Commission to address the report’s recommendations.”

The government supported 14, noted 15 and partially supported one of the report’s recommendations respectively.

The recommendations addressed issues around isolation, high compression rosters, accommodation, workplace culture, lack of mental health training and education, anti-bullying measures, fatigue and the need to improve data collection on mental health and suicide in the industry.

Mr Marmion said that many of the aims and objectives of the recommendations could be achieved by “reviewing and strengthening” existing codes of practice.

“Planning is underway on a Work Health and Safety (Resources) Bill which will provide an opportunity to address other recommendations in the report,” he said.

The report estimated that the fly in, fly out culture impacted about 240,000 members of the WA community, or about 9.3 per cent of the state’s population.

Mental Health minister Helen Morton welcomed the focus on further understanding the complex factors that contributed to mental illness and suicide risk among workers.

“A strong evidence base is vital as we continue to develop effective and targeted initiatives to support mental health in workplaces and to reduce the risk of suicide across the state,” she said.

The parliamentary report was submitted in June 2015 based on a 10-month inquiry which revealed that one in three fly in, fly out workers were quitting within a year at mine sites across the state, despite three-figure salaries.

The inquiry held 21 public hearings to gather evidence of the mental health impact fly in, fly out mining had on workers, families and the rural community.