June 16, 2024 9:13 PM

The Story Behind Bibi’s Move to Singleton


Bibiana Matanisiga has embraced her new working life in Australia.


Bibiana Matanisiga or Bibi is she is better known, is embracing her new working life in Australia but not without great sacrifice.

Bibi and husband Carl have left their five children in the care of Carl’s parents back in Fiji after they were accepted for working opportunities in Australia through the Palm Scheme.

Both are now working at Arbor Café at Club Dorsman in Singleton and Bibi is most grateful for the opportunity it will provide for her family’s future.

She is also grateful to have employment in the same town and venue as her husband through the scheme which is never guaranteed on signing up.

After purchasing land in the hope of building their own home in Nasinu, Suva, they struggled to save the funds needed to build their home.

Carl considered the Palm Scheme for some time to fast track this long-held dream and originally it would only be him that would come to work in Australia, leaving Bibi at home to care for their children.

“We talked about it at length and then Carl’s father said we should both come and that they would look after the children for the four year commitment,” Bibi said.

Saying goodbye was not easy but the couple focussed on what the working opportunity in Singleton would mean.

“We earn four times what we can in Fiji, this will set us all up for a better life,” Bibi said.

“We talk to the children a lot on the phone, it is very hard but I do think the children are much stronger than us, they are coping very well and I think they might be getting a bit spoilt,” Bibi said.

Bibi and Carl are enjoying living in Singleton and have noticed two very unique things about Australia compared to Fiji.

“I love that young people can work in Australia while they are at school with part time jobs.  In Fiji you cannot work until you are 18.  I also love that older people can continue to work.  You must retire when you are 55 in Fiji but here you can work as long as you want.  People look very old in Fiji when they are 40 or 50, and I see people come here (to the Club) in their 80s and they are getting around, looking fit and healthy, it’s wonderful.”