reader report

Perth's boom time is over

GOLD RUSH: Western Australia's mining boom has attracted many Kiwis.
GOLD RUSH: Western Australia's mining boom has attracted many Kiwis.

I'm a Kiwi living in Perth, working in the engineering/construction, oil and gas industry.

This is the industry that has boomed the last five years. I recently saw a Campbell Live segment on working in Western Australia (WA), and it disappointed me.

They painted a picture that WA was still booming and to just get on a plane. This does not fit with what is currently happening.

I work for a large oil and gas company on the commercial side, so I think I have a credential insight.

What wasn't shown was the mass lay offs happening in construction. Barrow, Wheatstone and Darwin are your only main projects employing and, due to all the lay offs, there is one job for five applicants and many of these are guys with huge amounts of experience.

After these projects are completed in the next two to four years, big companies will invest in floating liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is manufactured overseas and investing in other countries opening up to the market. A lot of these companies winning work in Australia are foreign-owned and the government has relaxed the laws so lots of jobs are going to south east asian workforces.

From an operational perspective these jobs are becoming scarce as these construction guys being laid off are moving across.

I'm not saying don't come over here, there are still opportunities, but usually for experienced specialised tradesman.

Gone are the days people walked out of a plane and into a job. Unskilled and semi-skilled unfortunately don't stand a chance unless an uncle is a construction manager.

I'm sorry for painting a rather bleak picture, it just breaks my heart seeing people with such high expectations come over and then end up in strife.

New Zealand migrants can't get social welfare or services. I would hate to see anyone go through that without a clear plan, something to fall back on and some real opportunities.

If you just want a change of scenery there are many opportunities outside these industries to have a crack at. Australia is wonderfully multicultural and offers a different lifestyle. Perth even has its own marae, New Zealand cultural groups and clubs and a ton of Kiwi shops.

Something to think about is private health insurance. Although many woman still use a public hospital to give birth, there is a large private medical industry here, unless it's life threatening or critical you can fork out quite a bit for specialists, doctors etc. Australia is a world leader in medical facilities but it can be very pricey. Children's hospital and medical facilities are excellent though.

Often Kiwis coming to Perth move to Mandurah or Rockingham, not realising it's an hour away from the city. The trains are often packed from this end. The rents cheaper but not when you are spending lots of money commuting. Better suburbs are Thornlie or Ellenbrook, cheaper housing but still closer to the city and community feel.

Lastly, supermarket fruit and veges are expensive. Always shop at a market to save you a ton of cash.

In terms of fitness savings, there are lots of great sporting clubs and parks to join instead of an expensive gym. Gym memberships can be up to $2500 a year where a sporting membership might be $500 a year.

Public schooling is also quite decent in WA but some schools require you to be in certain zones and of your children are at university or university age, get them to finish it in New Zealand before they migrate as New Zealand citizens are unable to access tertiary loans and Commonwealth places can cost anywhere between $10k-20k a year.

New Zealand degrees are not less favourable in Australia, the units of study just need to be transferable.