Karratha’s Bay Village artist’s impression released.

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An artist's impression of the Bay Village camp in Karratha.
Camera IconAn artist's impression of the Bay Village camp in Karratha. Credit: Woodside

Woodside’s proposed 700-bed Bay Village work camp in Karratha is set to get the go-ahead, with the State Government revealing it has entered lease negotiations for the site.

An artist’s impression of the camp on the west side of town shows it will not be fenced off from the community, but will include an on-site gym and cafeteria.

The camp is expected to create about 70 local construction jobs and 30 operational jobs.

Woodside chief operations officer Meg O’Neill said Bay Village was essential to house staff working on the development of new projects.

“The employment demand associated with developments like Browse and Scarborough is a huge number of people,” she said.

“It is more people than we can accommodate in our existing facilities, it is more people than the existing FIFO facilities can accommodate, and a lot of the work is transient, so it is not the sort of work where building housing compounds makes sense.

“With Bay Village ... we have a design we think will allow our workers to be integrated members of the community.”

VideoMore than a quarter of FIFO workers report high psychological distress, according to a study.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said he was disappointed by the news, but the City would make the best of the situation.

“We just didn’t think there was a demand demonstrated for the village,” he said. “If it allows a project to get up, we have no problem, but this is for operational FIFO.

“It is ultimately the State’s decision but we are clearly dis-appointed.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan said Bay Village was needed to ensure the future of Woodside’s Burrup operations.

“If we don’t do that the construction workforce wont be able to operate here in Karratha,” he said.

Greens Member for Mining and Pastoral Robin Chapple said the decision showed mental health problems caused by FIFO were of little concern to the Government.

“The Greens support workers, and in doing so we recognise that the FIFO model is unsustainable for family life and for mental health,” he said.

“It has been shown time and time again that FIFO has a profound impact on workers’ health and wellbeing, not to mention that of their families.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan at Woodside’s North West Shelf visitor centre.
Camera IconWA Premier Mark McGowan at Woodside’s North West Shelf visitor centre. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr.

WA Nationals deputy leader Jacqui Boydell said the camp would hit small businesses in town hard.

“Rather than fill the hundreds of Karratha houses currently sitting empty — more than 100 of which are owned by Woodside — or utilise the thousands of beds in local hotels or established accommodation facilities, the Government’s preference is to build a new camp,” she said.

“The unfortunate reality of FIFO camps is that workers rarely venture out from behind the boom gate once in place; they don’t buy or shop local and they disengage with clubs and other volunteer organisations.”

Ms Boydell said the decision came down to Woodside wanting to reduce costs.

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