Exmouth staff housing on Labor hit list

Headshot of Liam Beatty
Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
WA Labor candidate for North West Central Cherie Sibosado.
Camera IconWA Labor candidate for North West Central Cherie Sibosado. Credit: Midwest Times

The Exmouth business community has praised a Labor commitment, if re-elected, to fast-track construction of workers’ accommodation to meet a “critical shortage” in the tourist town.

On the back of a record-breaking tourism season, the Exmouth Chamber of Commerce has flagged concerns businesses will struggle to meet demand if they can’t attract workers to the area.

“The need to provide suitable housing and accommodation for the casual and permanent workforce in Exmouth is urgent and serious,” a spokeswoman said.

“Staff are willing to move here for work, however they cannot as they have nowhere to live. We have even heard of long-term residents and families forced to leave town for this reason.” On Friday, Labor candidate for North West Central, Cherie Sibosado, and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the State Government was working with the Exmouth Shire to prioritise development of about 50 units.

“I know from talking to local small businesses that the availability of staff and workers’ accommodation is the single biggest issue they are facing,” Ms Sibosado said.

While the chamber is supportive of the election promise, it says a survey of businesses indicated 50 beds wouldn’t be enough to meet demand.

“We have estimated the need is for between 100-150 beds,” the spokeswoman said.

“Business are facing what could be another year of unprecedented customer demand, the threat of not having enough staff simply due to a lack of available housing is unacceptable and distressing.”

Ms MacTiernan said if re-elected, a Labor Government would accelerate this process and ensure an expression of interest period was advertised as a priority. “Before going into the caretaker period ... we had worked with the Shire of Exmouth to identify a number of potential sites,” she said.

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