Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Move to Oz dream for some, but it's not all roses

Shane Ball says he's on track to buy his first home in time for his family to join him in Kalgoorlie in December. Photo / Richard Robinson
Shane Ball says he's on track to buy his first home in time for his family to join him in Kalgoorlie in December. Photo / Richard Robinson

Shane Ball describes his new life in Australia as "a dream come true" and "10 notches up" from his life in New Zealand.

The former Auckland security guard moved to the mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to start a new life and fulfil his dream of owning his own home and providing a better future for his three children aged 3, 8 and 12.

Now employed in a job that pays more than $30 an hour transporting concrete to the mines, the 33-year-old said he was on track to buy his first home in time for his wife and children to join him in December.

"You can get a three-bedroom for under $250,000 here, and for once I am able to save for a down payment."

Mr Ball said he worked two jobs in Auckland but much of his wages went to the landlord.

"Life here is 10 notches up, and my only regret is that I did not make the move earlier."

More than 400,000 New Zealanders live in Australia, and the exodus is tipped to continue. Annual departures across the Tasman hit a record 53,000 in February.

But some Kiwis now living in Australia say life there is not all roses.

"It's amazing how people are making Australia out to be a place of milk and honey ... it is not," said Phillip Walesby, who lives in southeast Queensland.

Mr Walesby moved to Australia in 1999 to further his soil and crop business.

"There are housing problems here and costs associated with getting mining jobs, and a lot of people are on the breadline and homeless."

The Brisbane Courier Mail says up to 87 struggling families or singles are competing for every public housing property that become available there.

"Skyrocketing rental prices in mining communities are forcing local battlers on to the state's social housing waiting list," the report says.

Tony Rameka, 36, who moved to Perth in 2006, said life had been hard - and made even harder by the fact that as a New Zealand citizen he did not have access to the benefits Australians get.

"Unlike New Zealand, there was no safety net, and I had to turn to busking to get money for my meals when I went through a long period of unemployment."

He would consider moving back had he not moved his wife and children.

Mr Rameka said job opportunities and cheap housing were not spread across the country, and the fate of Kiwis often depended on where they went.

Jobs are also drying up on the Sunshine Coast, where the local daily reported that nearly 600 people had applied for two office jobs.

- NZ Herald

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