The State Government has committed $500,000 to the refurbish 30 vacant Karratha town houses to address the shortage of accommodation available to service workers in the town. The funding is part of the local Service Worker Accommodation Initiative Western Australia with Rio Tinto having transferred the vacant town houses in Bulgarra to the City of Karratha. The State Government announced on July 27 it would contribute $500,000 towards refurbishing the properties, with Rio Tinto providing $300,000 and the local government contributing $3.7 million. The funding will assist with upgrading electrics and air-conditioning, internal painting, carpentry, fencing, external sewer works and improved access. Six of the units are scheduled for completion at the end of the month, while the final 24 units are expected to be completed by December. City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said housing availability and affordability is a major issue facing the Karratha community and the City has been doing everything in its power to address these issues. “In partnership with industry the City has initiated the Service Worker Accommodation initiative to ensure that workers in service based industries have access to affordable housing options,” he said “These units will provide short- to medium-term accommodation options for workers in services that are critical to our community like child care and allied health. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the State Government and the private sector to address housing issues in our district.” Housing Minister John Carey said the initiative will increase affordable accommodation options for people seeking to live and work in Karratha. “More properties available for sale and rent means less pressure on social housing, which we are working to increase through a range of successful initiatives,” he said. “Our Government is implementing alternative ways to get housing delivered as fast as possible in this heated construction market, including alternative construction methods and partnering with local government and community housing providers.” Premier Mark McGowan said it was an innovative approach to rapidly bring new housing options online, working with industry and local government to deliver for the Pilbara. It comes as Woodside also contributed a total of 30 properties for a two year period to the City’s Service Worker Accommodation Initiative. Pluto asset manager Ryan Beccarelli said service workers are vital to supporting local businesses, maintaining essential services and growing a vibrant and liveable city. “We are proud to be working in partnership with government, industry and our joint venture partners on this affordable housing initiative, providing 30 properties for a two year period to support the attraction and retention of service workers in the local community,” he said.