18 January, 2016. 16:45
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
AN UNSPOKEN CONSEQUENCE of the slowing mining sector is the thousands of fly-in-fly-out workers who are being forced to re-enter society as they become redundant.
After years of being forced to follow guidelines, rules and regulations, these people are having trouble readjusting back into everyday Australian life. It’s the little things. On a typical mine site, everything is catered for you. You have a routine that’s so heavily rooted in a worker’s psyche that it’s hard to shake.
One former drill team supervisor is coping with the seachange with difficulty.
“There are some days when I don’t know whether to take a jumper with me,” said 26-year-old Ashley Kappoff. “We used to have protocols for things like that back in the mines. I never know if I’ll need a jumper or not.”
However, everyday tasks are getting increasingly difficult for the Walgett native.
“Shopping for groceries is the worst. Last week at the super market, all I bought was a dozen tins of tuna, a kilo of rice and 65 Wagon Wheels. Not only that, I picked up a pair of Coles brand pyjamas. I didn’t even know you could buy pyjamas at Coles.”
Kappoff isn’t alone in his struggle to assimilate back into Australian life. There are thousands of workers just like him, who are now feeling the pain of earning a realistic income. Sadly, the Australian jetski and Harley-Davidson markets have been flooded as these workers struggle to make ends meet on their new pay packets.
“Some blokes would buy shit like that, but I was more focused on travel,” said Kappoff. “I got a month off a year and I used to be able to go anywhere in the world. But now I can only afford to go to New Zealand or Bali, like a common wage earning bag of shit.”
When asked if he’d rather go back to the mines or remain a wage earning bag of shit, Ashely said he’d surprisingly never go back to the mines.
“Now that I’ve enjoyed going to work and coming home to my own bed each day and finally being able to do drugs without fear of being screened, it could never go back. Not even prisoners are forced to do that.”