Onsite at Australia Pacific LNG. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
Onsite at Australia Pacific LNG. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA030316APLNG

820 LNG workers set to re-enter Gladstone job market

As construction winds down at the gas plants on Curtis Island, estimates show that 820 workers have plans to stay in Gladstone and re-enter the already tough job market.

As a way of assessing what would happen to the workers on the Island once things finish up, in early 2015 the Regional Community Consultative Committee asked Bechtel to conduct a survey of its workforces' future plans.

The data shows that as of 16 June this year the LNG workforce totalled 4120 across the three LNG sites, with 1550 employees identifying as local, 2407 identifying as non-local and 100 who are expatriates.

In its survey Bechtel asked these workers whether they would return home, retire, take a holiday, refresh or stay at home with the family, seek FIFO employment elsewhere or seek local employment again.

"Given that the data received shows 1550 of the existing workforce are locals, extrapolating on the data received, and assuming the percentage of those looking to be reabsorbed will remain at 53%, this would indicate that 820 locals will be seeking employment in the local market once all three LNG plants become fully operational," it was reported in council documents.

But with most of the major industries in town making cuts and trimming fat, it may be difficult for these 820 workers to find employment locally, especially if these workers share a similar skillset.

The silver lining to all of this is that if these workers can stay in town fewer houses will become vacant.

Tahseen Ali --- who works as an electrical engineer on the Island --- moved to Gladstone two years ago and would love to stay.

"I was thinking of staying and I'm trying to stay because I like Gladstone," Mr Ali said.


PROUD DAD:Tahseen Ali wants to call his son Tafseer but his wife Behnaz has other ideas Photo Declan Cooley / The Observer
Tahseen Ali with his newborn boy at Gladstone Base Hospital. Declan Cooley

"The weather is nice, it doesn't rain, everything is close by and there's no traffic."

Mr Ali said if he had the opportunity he would stay in town but with little work around, he thinks he will probably have to leave.

"There's not much on offer in terms of work as an electrical engineer," he said.

"Overall Australia is dried up for work."

Mr Ali currently rents a house in New Auckland but thought buying a house would be a risky investment.

To date LNG workforce data shows that 26,000 individuals have been employed over different periods of time, with 10,500 of those identifying as locals, 14,700 identifying as non-locals and 800 being expatriates.