Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE - Lach­lan Mcivor lach­lan.mcivor@gat­ton­

A $20 mil­lion back­packer and farm worker ac­com­mo­da­tion com­plex set for Gran­tham was signed off on Fri­day by the Lock­yer Val­ley Re­gional Coun­cil and one of Aus­tralia’s largest de­vel­op­ers.

Con­struc­tion off Philps Road will start in a mat­ter of weeks, with the 75-acre com­plex de­signed to cater for just over 600 work­ers at a time once com­pleted.

Katarzyna Group’s Louis Bickle said dis­cus­sions of a pro­ject of this kind were first held with the late Lock­yer Val­ley Mayor Steve Jones, who saw a desperate need for a hub that can pro­vide high qual­ity, safe and com­pli­ant ac­com­mo­da­tion for the re­gion’s sea­sonal work­ers.

“The new mayor and the com­mit­tee (also) saw the need for this and fol­lowed his in­struc­tions and here we are,” Mr Bickle said.

The first stage of the de­vel­op­ment, which will al­low 300 to be housed, should be com­pleted by Christ­mas of this year with the sec­ond stage, which will add an­other 304 beds, to be un­der­taken in due time.

Mr Bickle said the com­plex would be the first of its kind in the coun­try to be un­der­taken and it will fea­ture cook­ing fa­cil­i­ties, a bar, recre­ational ar­eas, shut­tle bus access as well as an eco-friendly ethos.

“Maybe six weeks will be a rea­son­able time to say we’re go­ing to put the first pick in the ground,” he said.

Lock­yer Val­ley Mayor Tanya Milligan said there was no se­cret that the val­ley’s work­ers had been call­ing out for some­thing like this to come to fruition.

“For a very, very long time our re­gion has been look­ing for safe, re­li­able and ap­pro­pri­ate ac­com­mo­da­tion for our back­pack­ers,” Cr Milligan said.

With the 457 visa be­ing abol­ished this week by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, Cr Milligan wanted to as­sure changes will not ham­per the po­ten­tial of the pro­ject.

“Con­ver­sa­tions that I’ve had with two of our mul­ti­cul­tural peo­ple and also with some of the feedback from the farm­ers... it won’t have any ef­fect which is good for us,” she said.


SIGNED: Louis Bickle and Tanya Milligan sign off on the de­vel­op­ment.

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