What families really want (from mining companies)

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Does your mining company do a great job of supportings its families? Are there other simple things that might make you feel more valued as a mining family? Here's the feedback we've received on those questions so far...

"I would really like it if my husband's company had a few computers set aside for skype. If there was a book-in system, at least my husband could skype us at a pre-arranged time so the kids could 'see' him once a week."

"My husband worked offshore in the Solomon Islands and his company had an Australian address so we could send care packages to him. We really appreciated being able to send things to him without paying international postage."

"Our company had an open day and they drove us out in buses to see the site. It was a full day to get there, but my kids were really helped by being able to see where their Dad worked. When he can’t be at their sports day because he has to be at the mine site, they know what that means and they can explain it to their friends."

Here's some other great feedback that's come through on the forum:

  • Some mine sites like Mt Keith fly families up at Christmas, with everything laid on.
  • Another mine allows dad to spend time with the family on Christmas Day, as well as looking after his part of the plant.
  • Mt Gibson Iron organised a family fun day at its Tallering Peak mine. They had uniforms for the kids and let them climb up into the trucks. "It really helped the kids understand where their dad works - they used to think he worked on an aeroplane because he was always going to the airport to 'go to work'."

And other stuff: mines also often organise fun days for residential town families; and some GMs (General Managers) have been known to recognise when a worker has done a double shift or lots of overtime, and send a thank-you note home to the miner's wife, with a voucher to a local restaurant. 

It's not our intention to bag individual mining companies and we certainly don't want to tell them to suck eggs, but info coming through on the Mining Family Matters forum suggests that good company support can really make a difference to how families cope - particularly children who miss their FIFO dad or mum. We've got some $50 Caltex fuel vouchers to give away, so drop us a line now!

We'll post positive ideas on the site, with all contributors remaining totally confidential.