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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 840

Mr HAASE (Durack) (13:57): I rise to speak about one of the little known ramifications of the syndrome of fly-in fly-out workers, a syndrome that prevails throughout the Western Australian Pilbara, which is in my electorate: the lack of volunteers. We have just heard the words of the member for Wright praising the fact that members of his community devote their time to volunteering. Such people are the glue which keeps society together. The absence of population resident in an area leads to an absence of volunteers. The first things that fail are the sporting clubs and the emergency services clubs—there are simply not enough people to provide those services to all of the residents in the particular residential area. FIFO has been blamed for many things, but few people realise that it is volunteering—that glue of society—which is one of the first things to go. The quality of life and the general ambience of those communities suffer greatly.

An inquiry is currently being carried out into FIFO workforces by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia, and many of these things are coming to light. My experience comes from 20 years of living in Karratha, a vital town within the Pilbara. That community today is a lesser community today, with the influx of fly-in fly-out populations, than it was those 14 years ago when I lived there as a permanent resident.