FIFO heartbreak: Gladstone dad lives in 'tiny little box'
GLADSTONE workers are hopeful Adani's $21 billion coal project is their ticket back to their home state.
After work wound down on the three Curtis Island LNG sites thousands of people were seeking new employment - with many travelling as far as Darwin and Western Australia.
Calliope man and fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) worker Aaron Rush says everyday away from his wife and two sons is a struggle.
For the past eight months he has worked at an LNG site in Darwin, after being made redundant from his position at the Curtis Island QCLNG site. He said there was "about 400" other workers at the Darwin site from Gladstone.
The 35-year-old pipe welder said the approval of Adani's Carmichael Mine meant it would make it easier for him, and hundreds of his work mates, to work closer to home if they were able to obtain employment there.
Today Adani announced the creation of 500 white collar jobs to kickstart its massive $21 billion Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin.
It's being described as the best Christmas present the Queensland Government could ever receive with jobs for Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bowen and beyond.
With the winding down of the construction workforce in Queensland, Mr Rush said he wasn't able to find work close to home.
Financial pressures and providing for his family meant Mr Rush had to look elsewhere.
"It's harder than I expected ... It's hard to go back and sleep in a tiny little box," he said.
"I have pictures of my family and kids all over the walls to make that tiny box a bit more homey.
"But at the end of the month you pack up your belongings, go back home, then return to a different room to set up your 'home' again."
The Adani mine, which is the biggest construction project in Queensland since the three liquefied natural gas plants on Curtis Island, is predicted by Adani to create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Mr Rush says he's waiting for the day he can be closer to home with his work.
"It would be great to be back in the same state," he said.
"You don't appreciate what you had before until you go away and you can't go home to your wife and kids."
The qualified boilermaker said finding work in Queensland would ease the heartache for his wife Leslie and sons Kobi, 6 and Braxton, 3.
"The struggles of the FIFO partners are just as important," he said.
"It's very hard for my two sons not having that father figure there."
Justin Nightingale, another Gladstone resident flying out for work interstate, said he realised early on how difficult working away from home was.
"The more work we can get closer to home the better," Mr Nightingale said.
"This is the first time since 2004 I've had to leave Gladstone to find work.
"In a nutshell (FIFO) work is hard ... It's like your life is on hold."
The former Gladstone construction worker said he would be applying for positions at Adani's Carmichael Mine project.
"It's crazy how many Gladstone people are here," he said.
"Everyone knows everyone ... People just can't find work in Gladstone."
Rockhampton and Townsville have also been shortlisted by Adani for a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) hub. A final decision will be made in 2017 around the time of early works commencement.
When an Adani spokesperson spoke to The Observer earlier this year he said job advertisements would appear on the Adani website and The Observer newspaper when they were available.