Media Release: New website eases pressure on Australia's mining families

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February 2010

Professional counselling support, first-hand testimonials of life in mining towns and a friendly online forum are among a raft of free services available to Australia's mining families through a new website called Mining Family Matters.

Created by Adelaide-based mining mum Alicia Ranford, the website is designed to offer friendship and professional support to families across the nation coping with the pressures of fly in/fly out work rosters or life in isolated rural communities.

"Mining is a great industry, offering financial stability and opportunities to see new places and meet new people. But it can be tough, especially on young families," Alicia says.

"My husband is a mining engineer and in the past decade we’ve moved six times, including a stint in South Africa – I’ve had two pregnancies in outback mining towns, with no family backup and no obstetrics care. I created Mining Family Matters after struggling to find specific information and services to help my two young children cope with their fly in/fly out dad being away for extended periods."

A key feature of the website, which can be found at www.miningfm.com.au, is a series of in-depth columns and Q&A sessions with a resident psychologist and social worker, offering advice on the unique issues facing mining families. Other highlights include:

  • Online chat forum to link families working through issues of isolation and extended time apart;
  • Lowdown on key mining towns across the country, with testimonials from mining families;
  • Careers section with insider tips on getting into the industry and working up the ladder;
  • Online mums’ guide to great websites for families who don’t live next door to a shopping mall;
  • Financial wisdom from insurance and investment professionals.

"Mining Family Matters has been created especially for mining families, but we think it also offers great benefits for the mining industry as a whole," Alicia says. "With Australian mining on the rebound and another skills shortage looming in the wake of the global financial crisis, it’s imperative that companies support their labour force by encouraging strong family bonds.

"Every time a mining company loses an employee, replacement costs amount to between 0.5 and 1.5 times the miner’s salary. A happy family makes for a happy miner – and hopefully a more productive employee who won’t need to quit to save his marriage."