Fly in for a month, fly out for a week
There's so much work to do in Karratha that the local workforce can't meet the demand. So thousands of extra people have to be flown in.
But these fly-in/fly-out workers don't live in town permanently.
Partly because of the accomodation squeeze, and partly because it's the only way companies can attract workers to come up here - FIFO's are more like temporary workers - even though some may keep up the routine for years.
FIFO's work something like a 4-and-1 swing. That means they work for a month solid, then get a week off to fly home.
Normally their flights, food and accomodation are all paid for, on top of the big money they earn.
I spoke to one plumber who was earning $3500 a week - gross.
It sounds like a sweet wicket, but a month is a long time to be working in the heat and dust everyday, then going home to a cramped donga to fall asleep in front of the TV before doing it all again.
And FIFO's do cause some tension from locals who think they're eroding the community in Karratha - the argument is that FIFO's take their money elsewhere; they don't usually play in sporting teams or volunteer for the over-stretched services like fire and ambulance brigades; and they don't treat the place like their home.