Moranbah

2013


In 2011, the Queensland Government's Office of Economic and Statistical Research reported Moranbah as the most expensive place to live in Queensland. Two years after, I visited the young 44 year old mining town; only to find a small, dusty, isolated and struggling community.


While prices have dropped, the town seemed to be caught in a state of suspension; unsure if it's transition is one of increase or decline. While new mining contracts are being developed in the area, more and more mining camps are becoming self sufficient, giving miners no reason to leave the camps and come into town. While some locals see the positives, with crime and alcohol related incidents down, others see the reality of thousands of cashed up customers also declining. With a number of retail shops shutting at midday; unable to pay staff for a full days work and the announcement of 100% FIFO workforce in one of the mines, locals are unsure of what the future holds for their job opportunities, their town and their young community.


By day, the streets are quiet and everything in them covered in a thick layer of fine dust drifting downwind from the surrounding mines. By night, streetlamps, car headlights and window lights appear like stars in the sky. While the glow over the horizon line refuses to allow the landscape ever to rest in complete darkness.


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