News

Is it boom or gloom time?

Moranbah was in the spotlight in Monday night’s ABC Four Corners report.
Moranbah was in the spotlight in Monday night’s ABC Four Corners report.

FLY IN, fly out mining contractors have exposed the grim realities of life away from family in "primitive" towns like Moranbah, arguing that depression, loneliness, drinking and gambling go hand-in-hand with camp life.

But would they relocate their families to the community?

The answer was no.

In an ABC Four Corners report aired on Monday night, a Brisbane-based contractor working in Moranbah said the social problems were rife among FIFO workers, who worked long hours away from home in search of a dollar.

"Things that happen behind the scenes for females (in the town) is disgraceful," the contractor said.

"It's a male-orientated place. You might say they do the wrong thing to females because they think it's their god-given right with a bit of (alcohol) behind them. And no one does anything about it in this place."

Another worker said he was earning upwards of 200% more in Moranbah than he would on the Gold Coast where his family resided. Despite this, he said the town's social problems, lack of infrastructure and high cost of living meant he would not relocate his family there.

"You've got to do what you've got to do," he said.

With half a trillion dollars of resource projects proposed, the full brunt of the mining boom is far from being felt in its host communities, and the debate about how much mining companies and governments should contribute back into the towns rages on.

In the Bowen Basin alone, there are plans for another 37 coal mines.

That's on top of the 39 currently operating in the region.

The reaction on social media websites from Central Highlands' locals suggested the issues covered in the episode correlated with other communities in the region.

"Watch the Moranbah story people! This is nearly Blackwater… And Emerald in the not too distant future, especially with rent issues!" Blackwater's Christie Marschke said.

Lyn Busk is a Moranbah resident of 40 years and she has three children who live in the town with their families.

In her lifetime, she has seen a lot of change in her beloved community and she was sad to admit she feared for its future with the drastic change in demographic taking place.

"There are fewer volunteers and families involved in the community these days," Mrs Busk said.

"People aren't committing as much as they used to.

"A lot on (Four Corners) was true, but there are families here that love the place and don't want to leave.

"We need affordable housing - that's the key.

"The big companies need to realise they are damaging this town. And it is this town that services their long-term employees."

The area's largest miner BMA said it was investing millions into the community through housing initiatives.

But newly elected Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker questioned the company's decision to spend $50 million on an upgrade to the local airport.

"If I had $50m to spend I would be investing in family housing," Cr Baker said.

BMA asset president Steve Dumble said the airport was an important piece of company infrastructure that did not currently reflect the transport needs of a community like Moranbah.

"It's not one or the other. We are in the process over the next two years of building 383 dwellings across Moranbah and Dysart," Mr Dumble told the ABC.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

New aquatic centre taking shape

SPLASHING OUT: Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes, CEO Scott Mason, Deputy Mayor Gail Godwin-Smith and councillor Charlie Brimblecombe inspect the rammed earth walls at the Blackwater Aquatic Centre site.

Construction on the Blackwater Aquatic Centre is progressing well.

Clermont: A town laid to ruin

EERIE REMINDER: The piano in the tree in Capricorn St is an eerie reminder of the height and ravaging force of the floodwaters. Although it's a replica today, there were  three pianos found in trees after the 1916 flood.

Isaac council commemorating centenary of the 1916 Clermont flood.

Auto students revved about donation

MOTORING AHEAD: CQUni Emerald students Caleb McDonald and Alex Funnell work on an abandoned vehicle.

Auto students getting hands-on experience at CQUniversity Emerald.

Latest deals and offers

Melting pot of cultural styles

Multicultural festival in Emerald this weekend promises to be a sensory overload.

UPDATE: Man charged with endangering children in Gympie

The man and two children were travelling in this vehicle.

The two children were missing from Emerald

New aquatic centre taking shape

SPLASHING OUT: Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes, CEO Scott Mason, Deputy Mayor Gail Godwin-Smith and councillor Charlie Brimblecombe inspect the rammed earth walls at the Blackwater Aquatic Centre site.

Construction on the Blackwater Aquatic Centre is progressing well.

Clermont: A town laid to ruin

EERIE REMINDER: The piano in the tree in Capricorn St is an eerie reminder of the height and ravaging force of the floodwaters. Although it's a replica today, there were  three pianos found in trees after the 1916 flood.

Isaac council commemorating centenary of the 1916 Clermont flood.

Auto students revved about donation

MOTORING AHEAD: CQUni Emerald students Caleb McDonald and Alex Funnell work on an abandoned vehicle.

Auto students getting hands-on experience at CQUniversity Emerald.

Die-hard fan's 34 magic Gympie Muster years

STICK AROUND FOR A BEER: Mal Williams has been at every Gympie Muster for 34 years.

Mal Williams has only missed one Muster in 35 years - the first one

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

TELEVISION: New show is a Survivor, for now

Jonathan LaPaglia hosts the TV series Australian Survivor.

WHAT happens when a new show with a big budget flops?

Rachel Weisz understands celebrity gossip fascination

Actor Rachel Weisz

Weisz says mystery is good for an actor

Gina Rodriguez relished dramatic change for new film

Jane the Virgin lead Gina Rodriguez

TV star shaved her hair for movie role

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa