Mining dream now a nightmare for NZ mum

The mining bust: This single mother from New Zealand says she hasn’t been paid what she was promised.
The mining bust: This single mother from New Zealand says she hasn’t been paid what she was promised.

She says she will leave this country both broke and disillusioned.

Supporting her 17-year-old son as a single parent has not been easy for the 47-year-old, who asked not to be identified.

Although she has a sociology and anthropology degree, she thought she could earn more as a Fly-In-Fly-Out worker in the Pilbara driving trucks.

However, her dream of setting up her financial independence was soon crushed.

‘I ended up getting $28 an hour after originally being promised $5,500 a month,’ she said.

‘The reality is when you agree to take the job, they don’t pay you what they say they will.

‘No one will say it, no one will tell the truth, so I will.’

The woman’s son attends high school in Midland and she intends to leave the country as soon as he finishes his education.

‘We moved around a bit when he was in primary school. He went to seven different schools, so I would prefer he was stable for high school,’ she said.

The woman said many New Zealanders were buying into the Australian mining boom dream but were only providing companies with cheap labour on a 444 work visa. The visa is issued to NZ citizens who arrive in Australia and do not have permission to stay permanently.

The woman first came to this country seven years ago with her then 10-year-old son.

‘I came here to do better but it’s worse and I am going backwards,’ she said.

‘I’ve had no child care, no support, rentals are impossible to find and I’ve had to work six days a week in the construction industry to put food on the table.

‘We have no status, we can’t vote, the cost of living in Perth is higher than New Zealand and mining employers that I have worked for have been unethical in their employment practices.’

She said she came to Australia on a career path but she is now walking ‘a survival path.’

‘The NZ government is paying the airfares for people there on the dole to come here and work in the mining industry,’ she said.

‘What they don’t realise is the workers are just a cheap labour force.

‘I want to leave here ” and the sooner the better.’