ALL SET TO GO
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.