Emergent trends in Indigenous labour mobility: Flying to work in the nation’s quarry

Emergent trends in Indigenous labour mobility: Flying to work in the nation’s quarry Book Section

Labour Lines and Colonial Power: Indigenous and Pacific Islander Labour Mobility in Australia

  • Author(s): McKenzie, Fiona Haslam, Prout Quicke, Sarah
  • Secondary Author(s): Stead, Victoria, Altman, Jon
  • Published: 2019
  • Publisher: ANU Press

Abstract: This chapter seeks to develop the conceptual terrain of these kinds of contemporary Indigenous labour mobilities in Australia by foregrounding the experiences and outcomes of one case study group of Indigenous mobile workers: fly-in fly-out (FIFO) mine employees based at Broome in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia. We make two central, but related, claims. First, there are important similarities and differences between contemporary Indigenous FIFO work and historical Indigenous labour mobility practices. We suggest that Indigenous FIFO mine work is simply a new(er) expression of well-established practices of labour mobility among Indigenous Australians prior to, and since, colonisation. Though, there are also important differences across time and space. Second, Indigenous FIFO workers occupy a unique position on the labour mobility spectrum. Though they often fill lower skilled roles in the sector and thus constitute a precariat of sorts, they do not face the same challenges with respect to exploitation and financial expropriation as many lower skilled transnational labour migrants, including the Pacific Islanders discussed by Stead, and Nishitani and Lee, in this volume.12However, neither are their labour mobilities characteristic of the privileged class of highly mobile professionals that Cresswell, Dorow and Roseman refer to as the ‘kenetic elite’.

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Suggested Citation
McKenzie, Fiona Haslam, Prout Quicke, Sarah, 2019, Emergent trends in Indigenous labour mobility: Flying to work in the nation’s quarry, Book Section, viewed 08 April 2020, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=15795.

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