Aussie-bound workers may get cheap fares

By Imran Ali

A company recruiting Northlanders for lucrative mine jobs in Western Australia is negotiating discounted rates with airlines and travel agencies for fly in-fly out workers across the Tasman.

More than 2000 Northlanders attended two seminars organised by Reciprocus in Ruakaka and Kaikohe in May, while hundreds have emailed their CVs to the company's offices in Perth and Kaitaia.

Reciprocus director Douglas Foster will be in Kaitaia on Thursday and said he was waiting to hear from employers in Western Australia on how many Kiwis were needed from the two recruitment drives to work in the mining, gas and oil industries.

He has meetings lined up with airlines and travel agencies to secure cheap international fares for the workers, who would work five weeks on for a fortnight off.

Under its recruitment model, employers would pay only for return travel between Perth and the project.

Mr Foster said even after paying their own airfares, Kiwi workers would still be better off.

Reciprocus got its recruitment fees from the companies that hired workers and didn't take anything from the prospective workers.

A return airfare between Perth and Auckland is about $ $800.

A mix of skilled and non-skilled jobs was available, Mr Foster said. People could be hired as cooks, cleaners or security guards.

"A lot of Kiwi workers do not have the appropriate skills so we are looking at upgrading their skills, whereas there are jobs such as catering where people can start soon after going through induction," he said.

"I've put people here with no skills and they're so much better off."

He could not give a timeframe on when, or how many, Northlanders would be chosen to work in Australia but said it would happen before the year was out.

Mr Foster is from Northland and worked in the West Australian mines for two years before opening a recruitment company.

Sonny Shelford, of Whangarei, is back home from Western Australia for a week and has urged those who can mentally cope with being away frequently from their families to apply for jobs across the Tasman.

The father of two, who works as a trade assistant at a new gas plant in Dongara, 351km northwest of Perth, was lucky to secure a big pay packet through Mr Foster, who is a family friend.

He spoke to Mr Foster on a Tuesday, sent his CV the next day, and flew out a week later to work for the BHP nickel refinery in Perth. He worked for a year on a new hydrogen plant before moving to the gas plant.

The work will finish about May next year and Mr Shelford will then move on to the next stage for two years.

"There's between 10 and 20 years of work left in the gas and oil fields and if anyone here in Northland gets a chance, take it," he said.

A record 52,000 Kiwis moved to Australia in the past 12 months.

- Northern Advocate

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