The McGowan Labor Government’s failure to deliver workers accommodation in Kalbarri two years after Cyclone Seroja ravaged the region has been labelled a “broken promise” by the Opposition.
Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Martin Aldridge MLC said it was shameful that housing for builders and other construction workers had not been fast-tracked in the aftermath of Cyclone Seroja.
“The aftermath of Cyclone Seroja left Kalbarri devastated and in dire need of housing for builders and other essential workers,” Mr Aldridge said.
“Despite the Shire of Northampton identifying the need for worker accommodation as the biggest stumbling block for recovery in June 2021, the government has not acted with urgency to address the issue.
“In the Kimberley, Rio Tinto is set to deliver a 40 bed workers camp to Fitzoy Crossing by the end of April – just four months after devastating floods in the region,” Mr Aldridge said.
“Yet in Kalbarri, the site promised for workers accommodation remains a vacant block, with no timeframe on when this much-needed housing will be delivered.”
Mr Aldridge said attempts to pursue the matter with the Minister for Lands in recent weeks had proven pointless.
“The Minister has repeatedly deflected questions in Parliament and passed the buck to the preferred proponent, refusing to disclose when the accommodation will be completed, what funding has been committed, or even if contract negotiations have been finalised,” he said.
Member for North West Central and Shadow Tourism Minister Merome Beard MLA said workers accommodation was vital to help businesses struggling with accommodation and workforce shortages.
“Tourism is the most significant industry in Kalbarri, attracting a large seasonal workforce,” Ms Beard said.
“However, the damage caused by Cyclone Seroja and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 have resulted in a highly constricted rental market, making it increasingly difficult for businesses to accommodate their staff.
“There is a pressing need for the State Government to fast-track the construction of key worker accommodation to address the current housing shortage,” she said.
“Without urgent action to provide adequate worker accommodation, businesses in Kalbarri will continue to struggle and recovery efforts in the community will remain challenged.”
In March 2022 the State Government released a 6,700 square metre vacant lot on Woods Street for worker accommodation. In August 2022, Petra Westkey Modular Housing was announced as the preferred proponent. The project does not have an expected start or completion date