DIDO only option as an apprentice

GIVEN the choice, Louise Hintz would live in Moranbah while she finishes her apprenticeship and become part of the town.

But like so many residents of the mining town, the 27-year-old doesn't have that option, and is instead a drive-in, drive-out worker from Mackay.

For the apprentice electrician, it is the best solution and the only one that allows her to keep her job.

"I'm not part of the town anymore because there is an incentive to leave town at the end of the week," Louise said, using a pseudonym for fear of workplace retribution.

"The worst part is that I'm missing out on the lifestyle things and the fact that I've put in the effort to be a part of the town.

"But now, there is no point in investing in anything in the town, which is sad."

Louise moved to Moranbah from Brisbane in 2007, looking for a lucrative mine job.

With nothing compatible with her university degree available, she took a lower paying job at Coles and lived with family while continually applying for jobs.

Living expenses continued to rise, and when she secured her apprenticeship three years ago, accommodation became a critical issue for Louise and her partner, who is also an apprentice.

"My family had told me Moranbah is a great little town, and when I first moved here, I thought exactly the same thing," Louise said.

"I made an effort to become a part of the town, but I just couldn't find anywhere affordable to live and without secure accommodation, you run the risk of losing your job.

"This is my career I'm working towards so there was no way I was going to put that at risk."

Louise and her partner were subsidised through the Emergency Long-term Accommodation in Moranbah organisation and paid $175 a week for a single room. Her weekly income averaged $350.

Doing DIDO from Mackay is the best solution for Louise at the moment, but in two years' time when she has completed her apprenticeship, she has "no idea" where she will be.

"I want to stay in Moranbah but I don't think that will be possible, to be honest," Louise said.


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