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Miners realise money doesn't buy happiness

Yeppoon mining wife Victoria Murray sees lots of issues in the home life of fly-in, fly-out miners.
Yeppoon mining wife Victoria Murray sees lots of issues in the home life of fly-in, fly-out miners. Sharyn Oneill

THEY may be among the nation's highest paid workers, but a third of all mine workers don't last a year in their job, proving the theory that money alone won't buy happiness.

A new study into the effects of fly-in, fly-out work on families showed Australia's 200,000 fly-in, fly-out workers suffered severe stress on family relationships and feel little emotional attachment to their employers.

FIFO workers can be away from home for up to four weeks at a time, and while most of them earn double the income of those in cities, for many, the price is bigger than the prize.

Libby Brook, a researcher at Murdoch University's school of psychology, looked at the effects of flu-in, fly-out work on families and said that overall dissatisfaction was higher among couples with no children.

A concurrent study on partner satisfaction found that while workers were generally happy being away for extended periods of work, their spouses, particularly those with children aged between six and 12, suffered.

A Federal parliamentary inquiry will release its report on fly-in, fly-out workforces early this year.

CEO of Australian Mines and Metals Association, Steve Knott said 80% of mining workers were employed on a fly-in, fly-out basis, and the workforce of about 200,000 was only going to get bigger.

Yeppoon mum and mining wife Victoria Murray started a support group last year for the wives of mining workers.

"I've heard of plenty of marriage breakdowns," she said.

"Mine workers are swapping from day shift to night shift and then there are challenges with their body clocks adjusting, then the family expects them to slot into their normal lifestyle."

Mrs Murray said moving to a new area and living a different life to your partner while not knowing anybody was difficult and took time to adjust

Topics:  happiness jobseeker advice miners money


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