Closing in on two-and-a-half years since the Labor Government promised to deliver workers accommodation in Kalbarri the local community continues to wait.
Member for North West Central Merome Beard MLA said the Budget Estimates process had revealed no new action had been undertaken on the project and negotiations with the preferred proponent had stalled.
“In the aftermath of Cyclone Seroja in April 2021, there has never been a greater need for accommodation for builders and essential workers to help the community of Kalbarri recover, but this project has been going nowhere,” Ms Beard said.
“Rather than own up to their inaction and explain how they are supporting this project, the Minister for Lands continues to make excuses and claim the Government has delivered on their promise.
“How can that be, when the land in Woods Street remains a vacant block, and almost a year after proclaiming Petra Westkey Modular Housing as the preferred proponent, no contract has even been signed?”
Ms Beard called on the Premier to make the project a top priority for the Government.
“Getting key workers into our region has been a priority for local business for years and the failure to deliver on this promise is hurting confidence in a community which has already been through so much.
“With the official recovery period for Cyclone Seroja now finished, the Premier needs to explain why this project has not come to fruition, and what he intends to do to accelerate its completion,” Ms Beard said.
Questions asked by Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Martin Aldridge during Budget Estimates laid bare the extent of the delay in negotiations between the Government and Petra Westkey Modular Housing.
“The response provided by the Minister for Lands is deeply concerning, and gives reason to question whether the State Government or Petra Westkey remain committed to delivering this project for the Kalbarri community,” Mr Aldridge said.
“In the aftermath of Cyclone Seroja, the Shire of Northampton identified the absence of workers accommodation in the region as the biggest stumbling block for community recovery.
“The Minister is somehow suggesting that annexing an empty block, with no contract, no completion date, and no funding attached is a job well done.”
Mr Aldridge said it represented another failure in the State Government’s Cyclone Seroja recovery efforts.
“After failing to deliver even 10 per cent of the $104.5 million promised in recovery funding, the Labor Government has yet to turn a sod on construction of long-promised workers accommodation.”
Mr Aldridge has written to Petra Westkey on several occasions requesting an update on the project. To date, no response has been received