Initiatives to stem the dire shortage of worker accommodation in Exmouth will be fast-tracked under a re-elected Labor Government. The launch for expressions of interest for local companies to build much-needed workers’ accommodation on State-owned land will be fast-tracked. Several potential sites have already been identified and a future Labor lands minister would grant tenure approval for an appropriate development. The issue has been well documented by locals, with Exmouth Cape Real Estate licensee Brendon Nowotny warning he had a waitlist of more than 40 rental applicants in January. He said shortages were a result of owners moving back in and properties being sold, as well as a few long-term rentals being converted to short-stay accommodation. Exmouth Chamber of Commerce and Industry president David Gillespie described the lack of housing as “dire”. “We are very, very concerned. It is putting extreme pressure on the whole town,” he said. “I am very pessimistic.” Froth Craft Brewery director Pete Firth is among the businesspeople grappling with the issue. “It’s having a huge impact. Last year, already we had the problem where it was harder to find people beds than it was to find them jobs,” he said. “It’s quite a concern. It’s not just a concern for new staff, it’s also for retaining them.” Locals also worry businesses will not have staff to service the booming tourism industry during the peak season. Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the State Government had been working closely with the Shire to address the issue. “Before going into caretaker period, our work on this issue was progressing well and we had worked with the Shire of Exmouth to identify a number of potential sites,” she said. North West Central Labor candidate Cherie Sibosado said the issue was among the biggest in town.