Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Duo Accepts FIFO Factor

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Duo Accepts FIFO Factor

Article excerpt

GAIL Lockyer's nesting instinct comes to the fore just before her partner Barry Wood gets home from work.

She tidies their Maroochydore home, puts fresh sheets on the bed, and even bakes a batch of biscuits.

Gail likes to make a fuss because Barry only gets home from work once a fortnight.

He has worked on a fly-in fly-out basis, one week on, one week off, at a zinc mine in the Northern Territory for the duration of their three-year relationship.

Gail said she had always accepted FIFO as part of the "package" with Barry.

His absences ensure the couple make the most of the time they do get to spend together.

"I get really excited the night before Barry comes home," Gail said.

"In the beginning, I used to put balloons and streamers out the front."

Barry has worked as a fly-in fly-out worker previously while living in Cairns and in Victoria and said it was the only way for him to get work on the large sites that are his specialty.

The couple warned that the FIFO life was not the easy, cashed up lifestyle that many people presumed it to be.

Barry faces a 14-hour journey to and from work involving a bus and two plane flights, one of which is paid for by his employer.

He spends at least half of his first day home catching up on sleep.

When he returns to work, he starts his shift upon arrival.

He said FIFO workers like him were paid well but it was simply a reflection of the long hours and sacrifices they made for their jobs.

"It's good money in the main but most people in town are not doing 12 hours a day, seven days a week or not spending 14 hours getting to work," he said.

"The hourly rate is better but it's the hours you work that make it better pay."

The long hours have become second nature to Barry.

"You're just used to it. …

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