FIFO Family

Reporter: Graeme Butler

Meet the FIFO's - three generations of Fly in Fly out workers - Ivan Hohaia has been working FIFO since before it even had a name. In 1979 he and four of his brother-in-laws left their families in New Zealand and headed West to the mines of Western Australia.

Three decades later - mums, dads, brothers, sisters .. cousins all work FIy in fly out - FIFO has become a right of passage for this family.

Cory Flavell is third generation FIFO - he didn't originally plan to join the ranks of the fly in fly out workforce, but it's in his blood.

The lure for FIFO workers is big money - and regular stints back in the city for R and R - and even more seasoned members of the family are signing on.

Tuppy Noble has watched her son and other family members fly in and out but she's just donned the high vis vest and now takes her place in the departure lounge waiting for the flight that will take her to work, if you can't beat them, join them.

Back in Perth Tuppy lives with her FIFO son and daughter in-Law Tania who now juggles the family in the same way her mother did 30 years ago when Ivan went west.

These days Fly in Fly out is a different beast to thirty years ago, better conditions, more time off and communication at the touch of button but the tug of emotions are the still the same.

For Tania's family FIFO is their life, but the lifestyle can take it's toll on some families. Tania has now set up a business called "safe balance" to help those who struggle, assisiting split families with access visits for kids. "We will contact the residential mother and organise for the children to be at the airport to see their dad and being FIFO too it's hard for them to take that time to organise all that sort of stuff, they don't have the resources or there might be issues or conflict with the relationship and they're unable to get that time with their children." For this FIFO family getting everyone together at the same time is almost impossible, when they do there's no prizes for guessing what dominates the conversation. For some members of the family - fifo is for life, for others it could soon be time to cash in the frequent flyer points and settle down.

Further Details

Safe Balance ( supporting FIFO workers and their families )

Mobile 0487 332 607