Fly-in, fly out support may cause harm to the most vulnerable young people
Australia’s leading youth affairs and youth sector organisation will today tell the federal parliamentary inquiry into “fly-in, fly out” (FIFO) workforce practices across regional Australia that the FIFO model of service provision to some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people fails to adequately address their needs and may actually be doing harm.
Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) executive director Andrew Cummings said, “Young people have the right to access appropriate support and services – such as education, housing, employment, mental health, and disability support – in a fair and equitable manner, regardless of geographic location.
“Sustainable youth services significantly impact the wellbeing of young people, yet FIFO services are band aid solutions that fail the test of a fair go.”
AYAC will tell the inquiry that the current FIFO model fails to incorporate what research shows is essential in addressing the needs of vulnerable young people: that vulnerable young people need long-term and sustainable professional relationships with youth support workers that are built on trust.
Young people in remote communities are suffering due to the huge gaps in appropriate services. These major concerns were highlighted in the recent report Gone Too Soon: a Report into Youth Suicide in the Northern Territory, that criticised current service arrangements as costly and ineffective for rural youth and in some cases doing more harm than good.
“If we want to achieve lasting outcomes for rural and regional young people, then youth specific services that that favour place-based solutions that work with local communities and build on community potential should be a priority for Government,” Mr Cummings said.
AYAC firmly believes that the FIFO approach is only effective when used to complement locally-based and appropriately-resourced youth support services that develop long-term relationships with young people. Young people need a sustained youth support presence across regional Australia so that any outcomes achieved are not undone when the services fly away.
“Too often young people won’t even know when a FIFO service has arrived and are much less likely to engage during the periods when they are available,” Mr. Cummings said.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia has been asked by the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, The Hon Simon
Crean MP, to inquire into and report on the use of ‘fly-in, fly-out’ (FIFO) and ‘drive-in, drive-out’ (DIDO) workforce practices in Regional Australia.
The Inquiry terms of reference includes for the Committee to report on the effect of a non-resident FIFO/DIDO workforce on established communities, including community wellbeing, services and infrastructure.
For more information or to arrange media interviews, contact:
Andrew Cummings, Executive Director
(m) 0435 146 979