Northampton, Morawa, Chapman Valley shires given caravans for Seroja-displaced residents

Phoebe Pin and Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
State recovery controller Melissa Pexton and emergency services commissioner Darren Klemm.
Camera IconState recovery controller Melissa Pexton and emergency services commissioner Darren Klemm. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

A convoy of caravans is on the way to ensure cyclone-displaced Mid West residents have a roof over their heads while they await home repairs.

The State Government on Wednesday announced eight caravans would be sent to the Shire of Northampton, two will assist residents in the Shire of Morawa and one will be used to house a resident in the Shire of Chapman Valley.

Local government worked with the State to identify which residents were still in urgent need of accommodation three months on from Seroja, with the caravans expected to arrive in the coming days.

Shire of Northampton chief executive Garry Keeffe welcomed the arrival of the caravans, saying many people whose homes had been made uninhabitable had already found another place to stay.

“There is no point bringing 20 caravans up here if you only need eight,” he said.

“Because of the time frame, people have obviously found alternative accommodation.”

But he said demand may rise when displaced people staying in holiday homes are forced to find somewhere else to stay when homeowners need to move back in or rent out their properties come summer.

“That raises another concern, but we will cross that as it comes,” he said.

But shire president Craig Simkin said the initiative would not solve the problems of workers being unable to find accommodation while they completed recovery works.

“The caravans coming up (from the State Government) are a bit too little, too late,” he said

“The shire has put more people on its demolition crew to speed up the clean-up process.

“Builders coming to Kalbarri are struggling to find accommodation and are paying up to $800 to house their workers. One builder bought a house because he knows he will be up there for a few years.”

Shire of Morawa president Karen Chappel said the recipients of the two caravans in her local government area “will very much appreciate” the temporary accommodation relief.

She said locals had been “working hard in recovery mode” but many were still awaiting insurance payouts or the green light to conduct repairs.

Shire of Chapman Valley president Anthony Farrell said about 10 homes were declared uninhabitable after the cyclone, but just one resident had been identified as in need of urgent accommodation relief.

Minister for Emergency Services Reece Whitby said he was pleased residents could stay in their communities during the recovery period.

"We'll continue to work with the affected communities to find innovative solutions and ensure that people can recover from this devastating cyclone as quickly as possible," he said.

Recipients can use the caravans for 12 months, with a 12-month extension possible after the initial year-long loan.

If the residents are still without accommodation after two years, the situation will be reviewed.

Caravans will be placed on residents’ properties where possible.

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

Sign up for our emails