Land release for Kalbarri workers accommodation

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Paths at Z Bend and other locations in Kalbarri National Park will be upgraded as part of a $250,000 package for new Kalbarri tourist infrastructure.
Camera IconPaths at Z Bend and other locations in Kalbarri National Park will be upgraded as part of a $250,000 package for new Kalbarri tourist infrastructure. Credit: Stephen Scourfield/The West Australian, Stephen Scourfield

Land at Nanda Drive in Kalbarri will be used for worker’s accommodation to support the town’s growing tourism industry, WA premier Mark McGowan announced on Wednesday.

He said a re-elected McGowan Government would fast-track the launch of an expression of interest for local companies to build much-needed workers’ accommodation on the State-owned land.

“The State Government has been working with the Shire of Northampton to resolve this issue,” Mr McGowan said.

“If re-elected, we will accelerate the process to facilitate the construction of a new workers’ accommodation facility.”

Mr McGowan said COVID-19 had had a “significant impact” on the availability of workers’ accommodation in Kalbarri, with the shortage continuing to impact tourism, hospitality and small business.

The initiative came after Northampton Shire president Craig Simkin said Kalbarri employers were “screaming out” for the Shire to find a workers’ accommodation provider.

Shire chief executive Garry Keeffe identified the land at 997 Nanda Drive, which he said would be suitable.

“The lot is currently a reserve under the control of the State Government for the purpose of ‘Pharmaceutical Society’ and was the ex-photovoltaic site, which has since been decommissioned and is now vacant,” he said.

“Being accommodation for transient workers where noise from socialising can occur, it is best that such grouped accommodation is not close to dense residential areas.”

Mr McGowan said if his Government was returned it would make sure any expression of interest from a private developer would be prioritised.

“The McGowan Government’s incoming Minister for Lands will grant tenure approval for an appropriate development at the site,” he said.

Mr McGowan said a Labor Government would also provide $250,000 for new Kalbarri tourist infrastructure.

“A re-elected McGowan Government will invest $150,000 to seal the coastal carpark at the stunning Island Rock and natural bridge,” he said.

“An additional $100,000 will fund upgrades to walk trails at the Eagle Gorge, Z Bend, 4 Ways and Ross Graham sites.”

“These additional trails and tourism projects will support Kalbarri to continue to build on the remarkable season it has had – improving local tourism offerings and helping to keep the region strong.”

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