In 2006, the cost of housing in Moranbah was about 100% more expensive than Brisbane. In 2012, it's been reported that renting a house is $3000 a week.
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson asks who can afford this, but apparently the mining industry can. In a recent ABC Television 4Corners program (Monday 28 May 2012) on this very issue, showed housing development for single person quarters by buying up and demolishing family homes in these mining communities. One statistic shown was that 80 families had left Moranbah in the past 12 months.
Moreover the fly-in fly-out accommodation in large community style housing situations appear to be creating immediate dramas for these mining areas and domestic uncertainty in the community. The fly-in fly-out situation has now become a migration issue associated with new Pilbra mining opportunities by flying in migrant workers as so many Australians are unwilling to work in such distant locations regardless of the money.
Between Perth and Bunbury are huge new housing developments for the fly-in and fly-in mining community where those who work in the mines house their families in in the suburbia of the city of Perth where their partners and children might enjoy the conveniences and educational opportunities of a larger community.
Despite an unemployment rate of 3.8 per cent and with up to 89,000 mining and construction positions needing to be filled over coming years, Western Australia is struggling to entice people from the east. Herein lies the issue of perception of community as Atlas Iron boss from the West, speaking in Melbourne, said some people were simply unwilling to take on work that was readily on offer. (www.smh.com.au)
Mines west of Bowen North Queensland
Collinsville is located in the northern part of the Bowen Basin, and as the crow flies, directly west of Proserpine. Mark Tronson knows people who live at Airlie Beach, Hydeaway Bay, Midge Point and Laguna Quays (Whitsundays) who do their "days" at the mine and then come for their "days".
Billionaire mine owners have been seen at the "Laguna Quays Resort" checking out the possibility for housing, (a resort which is now closed), in their desperate need for the housing of families.
Moreover the Alpha coal project - owned by India's GVK and billionaire Gina Rinehart - has been granted approval by Queensland's Co-ordinator-General, in a significant step forward for the planned $6.4 billion Galilee Basin enterprise. It will be Australia's largest coal mine with a proposed 500 km rail line to Abbot Point near Bowen. Housing families become critical issues. This means a whole lot more housing. (www.couriermail.com.au)
Herein is the crucial issue
Men or women, for their own well-being and person-hood, need their partners and children nearby, even if that means, a few days away at a time, and a three hour drive home. Spouses (partners) and families civilise the community and too many of one (male or female) creates unhealthy and unwelcome situations. Recent history reveals how traumatic it can become.
Male miners en-mass entering a settled community are like a conquering army that has been denied the delights of the pleasures of having their partner on tap. This is a huge perennial issue and certain illegal practices may be ignored by the authorities, for otherwise the consequences might be horrendous for the settled community.
Mark Tronson knows of one developer at Midge Point who has been attempting to provide some respite to this situation by providing reasonably priced housing, from a basic $280,000 for a three bedroom home on a house block, specifically catering for the mining family industry. Readers are invited to check out the Carlisle Coast and its affordable sea-change housing. (www.carlislecoast.com.au)
This developer sees the ever expanding mines as a draw card for families wanting minimal community living (away from the cities and large regional centres) but within reach of supermarkets and convenience stores.
The Whitsundays airport is 20 minutes away, Proserpine is a 25 minute drive, Cannonvale's large supermarkets another 12 minute drive, whereas south to Mackay is a one hour and 10 minute drive. These drive-time allotments are about the same time it takes to go from Sydney's outer suburbs to Sydney airport or the city's CBD.
A close inspection of real estate on-line sites recently revealed some real bargain prices in the realm of the lower $200ks for a three bedroom duplex in sight of the astonishingly beautiful blue waters of Repulse Bay. This recent article in Christian Today spells it out. (au.christiantoday.com)
Vision is part of being 'coastal and affordable'
Mark Tronson says there is 3G on-line access as well as land line ADSL internet access as many professional people today can work from their home office. There is a local school, SES, Bush Fire Brigade, a community tavern with published culinary acclaim, various community groups; and there is a good school bus services for high schoolers. The Whitsundays (Proserpine) airport is 20 minutes away.
A sea change can mean - "coastal and affordable" - says Mark Tronson, if people have the capacity to vision what may be, or have the type of work that can be activated by the Internet, or willing to make something out of the multiple-hundreds of thousands of dollars they save from not buying in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or the larger regional centres.
"It is certainly the ideal location for the Well-Being Australia missionary respite facility," says Mark Tronson. "We've enjoyed a steady stream of mission people taking their own 'time-out'."
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html