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Nationals commit to ending lease for new Karratha FIFO camp

For more information, contact Mia Davies (Leader | Member for Central Wheatbelt).

The Nationals WA, upon returning to Government, will terminate any lease the McGowan Government signs with Woodside Petroleum to allow the company to operate a new 700-bed fly-in, fly-out camp in Karratha. 

The Nationals WA, upon returning to Government, will terminate any lease the McGowan Government signs with Woodside Petroleum to allow the company to operate a new 700-bed fly-in, fly-out camp in Karratha.

Leader Mia Davies today called on Premier Mark McGowan to reject Woodside’s bid for State Government approval to build the $400 million Bay Village camp.  

“This is a line in the sand moment for the McGowan Government’s regional development credentials,” Ms Davies said. We know FIFO camps encourage workers to stay behind the boom gate and disengage from the local community and businesses.

“I am stunned the Member for Pilbara has not advocated on behalf of his community to stop this donga camp from going ahead. But if Labor won’t stand up for Karratha, The Nationals will.”

Ms Davies said The Nationals had a strong history of confronting major mining companies over housing their workers in FIFO camps in established communities.

“It is Nationals WA policy to ensure transient workers’ camps are not built within 60km of an established town,” Ms Davies said.  “We stared down BHP over the Kurra Village FIFO camp in Newman and, in 2015, The Nationals stood our ground on behalf of the Karratha community when Woodside wanted to extend its lease on the 2000-bed Gap Ridge Village.”

Local MP Jacqui Boydell said at a time when hundreds of Woodside homes sat vacant in Karratha and occupancy rates at local hotels were hovering below 60 per cent, allowing a 700-bed FIFO camp would destroy business confidence in the community.

 

“The City of Karratha is looking to attract new investment to the town, including hotel chains,” Ms Boydell said. “No company will invest if another 700 FIFO beds flood the market. I urge the Member for Pilbara to stand up to his Premier for the good of his community.”

Ms Boydell said existing Karratha workers’ accommodation facilities were already below full occupancy and would struggle to survive if the Premier permitted 700 more FIFO beds in town. 

“One of these, Karratha Village, is run in concert with the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi Foundation Limited which provides jobs and training for local indigenous people,” Ms Boydell said. “Such opportunities would likely be lost if the Woodside camp goes ahead.”

Ms Boydell, the Deputy Leader of The Nationals, said the recent demolition of Woodside’s FIFO camp at Gap Ridge was viewed as a turning point in the community’s identity.

“This represented a milestone on Karratha’s journey from a transient, FIFO-orientated town to a City of the North where workers were attracted to the lifestyle and wanted to stay with their families,” Ms Boydell said. “Now, with the ashes of Gap Ridge still smouldering, Woodside want to build a new camp – and the McGowan Government is going to just let them. 

“It is a slap in the face for a community which enjoyed unprecedented investment during the years of the Liberal-National Government and from Royalties for Regions. Karratha is a place for families, not FIFO camps.”