Kalbarri cyclone Seroja rebuild: Accommodation provider calls on government to help set up workers’ camp

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Rainbow Jungle Tourist Park owner Kevin Kelly with North West Central member Vince Catania on land Mr Kelly proposes to use to accommodate workers rebuilding Kalbarri after Tropical Cyclone Seroja.
Camera IconRainbow Jungle Tourist Park owner Kevin Kelly with North West Central member Vince Catania on land Mr Kelly proposes to use to accommodate workers rebuilding Kalbarri after Tropical Cyclone Seroja. Credit: Geoff Vivian/Midwest Times, Geoff Vivian

A Kalbarri tourist park owner is calling for immediate government action after proposing to provide workers’ accommodation in prefabricated buildings as the town prepares to rebuild after the damage from cyclone Seroja.

Kevin Kelly, from the Rainbow Jungle Tourist Park, said a proposed accommodation camp could be assembled in batches of 10 “donga” units at a time.

“The camp will be complete within four to six weeks from funding approval to point of accommodation of up to 100 people,” he said.

Mr Kelly said he had approached State Recovery controller Melissa Pexton with a proposal for the WA Government to subsidise rentals for the workers’ camp.

“The Rainbow Jungle Tourist Park is without capacity to accept tourists whilst the town is devastated,” he said. “With more than 70 per cent of the town devastated by deadly cyclone Seroja, the town is without capacity to accommodate local residents, tradespeople and other workers required to rebuild the town and outlying properties.”

Some of the damage in Kalbarri the morning after cyclone Seroja.
Camera IconSome of the damage in Kalbarri the morning after cyclone Seroja. Credit: 7NEWS

North West Central member Vince Catania said the Government needed to support local businesses to get Kalbarri working as a tourism destination again.

“The way in which the Government can do that is to support workers’ accommodation to be built,” he said.

“There is an option which is ready now, which is ready to go to provide workers’ accommodation for tradies and builders to start to free up tourism accommodation in town.

“Kalbarri needs tourism to come in to be able to support businesses so they can survive.”

Mr Catania said he knew of Kalbarri business owners who were “on the cusp” of closing their doors permanently and leaving town.

A State Government spokeswoman said the Master Builders Association had told Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby and Ms Pexton offering workers’ accommodation would be a “significant advantage” in attracting trades to the region.

“However, the scale of this event and the diverse needs of the 13 impacted local government communities need to be taken into consideration,” she said.

“Accommodation options are currently being explored.”

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