Three new FIFO camps in the pipeline for Karratha

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Mine workers at Perth Airport ready to fly to site.
Camera IconMine workers at Perth Airport ready to fly to site. Credit: The West Australian, Sharon Smith

A wave of new fly-in fly-out workers camps capable of housing a combined 5288 people are in the pipeline for the City of Karratha after three applications intended to pave the way for new developments came up for consideration at this month’s council meeting.

Leases over part of Madigan Estate, the old Gap Ridge Village site and a development application to expand the Ranges hotel for transient workforce accommodation were in-principle unopposed by councillors, who were tasked with providing a view to inform ultimate decision-making body the Kimberley Pilbara Gascoyne Joint Development Assessment Panel.

The proposed 1500-bed Madigan Estate camp would accommodate workers building the planned Perdaman urea plant in Dampier, while the 2500-room Gap Ridge facility would house Bechtel’s Pluto Train 2 construction workforce.

The 1288-bed Ranges development was initially planned for the same Bechtel workforce but is now open to any major resources company as a tenant, and councillors specified their support of that project was subject to the proponent finding a specific need for the facility.

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Speaking at the meeting, councillor Daniel Scott said the proposals presented a “very hard balancing act” for council.

“Even though the community as a whole might think that camps are not what we want ... sometimes there is a need for these short-term large-scale construction projects,” he said.

“I think it’s a difficult position to be in; however, we’ve got to manage it and do the right thing by all of those local people, mining and resource companies and the state as a whole.”

Mayor Peter Long said council had been careful to ensure the crop of proposed projects would provide the maximum possible benefits for the community.

“These proposals have been on the cards for a long time,” he said.

“The Bechtel one, we think that’s a great opportunity because there’s a huge $15 billion Scarborough Project that Woodside’s doing which is just going to be fantastic for the town, so that’s a positive sign.”

“The Perdaman one, that would actually be in town, behind the existing Madigan Estate and what we’ve asked the proponent to do is to build the roads in accordance with the long-term plans for the estate ... and afterwards the proponent has committed to building a large number of permanent houses for their staff on the land.”

“So these are all good things and a sign of work and money coming into the town, they’re not a bad thing for the town at all.”

For the Perdaman and Bechtel applications, councillors noted development approval would need to be granted prior to any lease being signed.

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said the applications were a sign of growing investment in Karratha and he would be working with their proponents to ensure their construction involved as much local employment as possible.

The Kimberley Pilbara Gascoyne JDAP is expected to consider the Ranges proposal next month.

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