Skilled migrants flock to region
TAKE a moment to look around you Gladstone. Though you may not know it, you are living the dream.
"Australians and Queenslanders, you should be very happy with what you have," Dutch doctor Christian Kastenberg said yesterday.
For skilled migrants, the region's booming industry and gaping skills shortages offer amazing opportunities.
Dr Kastenberg returned to Australia this year to take up a permanent position at BITS Medical Centre. He spent time in Tannum Sands as a locum five years ago but returned home to open his own practice. Once back, he missed the lifestyle and "more relaxed, less anxious" patients.
"That was his dream. But he couldn't settle," BITS medical centre general manager, Nicole Dickhaut, said.
"When he decided to bring the family back, we started up the paperwork," she said.
That process took three years, including a fruitless search for an Australian-trained doctor.
"But the red tape and bureaucracy in Holland, it's even worse," Dr Kastenberg said.
Another happy newcomer, Phillipa Cross, moved with her family two months ago from Johannesburg to Boyne Island while her husband, a civil engineer, works on the Curtis LNG plant. She said they were hoping to stay for good.
"If I were Australian, I don't know if I would like the idea of opening the doors to everyone," she said.
"But from one grateful immigrant, we appreciate it here so much."