Home

Dedicated accommodation program hopes to speed up cyclone Seroja recovery

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Shire of Northampton chief executive Gary Keeffe said government-funded accommodation was long overdue to speed up recovery efforts.
Camera IconShire of Northampton chief executive Gary Keeffe said government-funded accommodation was long overdue to speed up recovery efforts. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Cyclone Seroja restoration works have received a “long overdue” boost, with tradies travelling to affected areas soon to be housed in dedicated accommodation.

Many residents in Kalbarri and Northampton are still waiting on repairs to be finished more than eight months after Seroja carved a path of destruction through the Mid West.

More than 2400 residential properties and structures were affected.

But the recovery effort has been slow going, with an accommodation shortage holding back builders and tradespeople from completing the job, according to WA Senator Bridget McKenzie.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.

READ NOW

“(The) program will enable them to stay locally while undertaking much-needed work,” she said.

“A mix of temporary accommodation solutions has been considered under this program to ensure they are fit-for-purpose and tailored to the needs of a region, in an effort to rebuild for the community.”

Michaela Simpson with her children Grady, 9, Layla, 7, Keely, 4, and Cayle, 4, outside their home which was completely destroyed by the cyclone as they hid under a bed in the bathroom.
Camera IconMichaela Simpson with her children Grady, 9, Layla, 7, Keely, 4, and Cayle, 4, outside their home which was completely destroyed by the cyclone as they hid under a bed in the bathroom. Credit: Geraldton Guardian / Sam Jones/Sam Jones

Acting Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby said an accommodation facility in Kalbarri would supply 60 beds through a fixed term agreement.

“Impacted community members are ready to repair and rebuild and this program aims to support the rebuilding process and enable them to move forward on their recovery journey,” he said.

The damage bill from cyclone Seroja has risen above $300 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.

Shire of Northampton CEO Garry Keeffe said the accommodation program was long overdue and should have been implemented in the immediate aftermath of Seroja.

“We’ve been banging on about this (since) a week after the cyclone; that we would need accommodation for both people that had been displaced and workers.

“It was desperately needed and we are just happy it has come to fruition finally and we can get on with the rebuild.”

Frustrated by the delays, Mr Keeffe said it was still going to be a struggle to find workers while the construction industry was going through a boom period.

“There are a lot of repairs which I thought would be done by now that aren’t,” he said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails