Ash­bur­ton to buy houses for Onslow staff

Pilbara News - - Business - Court­ney Fowler

■ The Shire of Ash­bur­ton has passed a mo­tion to buy three prop­er­ties in Onslow to pro­vide hous­ing for coun­cil staff at a to­tal cost of $2.2 mil­lion.

There are 17 Shire-owned or leased prop­er­ties in Onslow for the 24 Shire staff en­ti­tled to ac­com­mo­da­tion in town, and two more will be needed when the Onslow Pool is op­er­a­tional.

The three ad­di­tional prop­er­ties pur­chased will house lo­cal em­ploy­ees and fly, in, fly out work­ers.

Twelve of about 200 staff who work for the Shire of Ash­bur­ton are em­ployed on a FIFO or drive-in, drive­out ba­sis in Onslow and Tom Price.

Shire of Ash­bur­ton pres­i­dent Kerry White said the ac­com­mo­da­tion cri­sis would be less­ened if there were enough suit­ably qual­i­fied peo­ple liv­ing in Onslow to fill Shire po­si­tions.

“Those al­ready liv­ing lo­cally, and who have the right qual­i­fi­ca­tions, in most cases have hous­ing at­tached to their ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ment,” she said.

Ms White said cost-ef­fec­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion leases from Rio Tinto had helped ease the bur­den of hous­ing short­ages in Tom Price, where there were only 22 Shire-owned or leased prop­er­ties for the 52 staff en­ti­tled to hous­ing.

She said un­for­tu­nately sim­i­lar leases had not been made avail­able from re­source com­pa­nies in Onslow, where rents were about three or four times higher than in Tom Price.

The Shire pays $14,506.46 a week to lease houses in Tom Price and Onslow, or $756,754.15 a year.

Ms White said the Shire would con­tinue to in­vest $2 mil­lion ev­ery year in new hous­ing and con­struc­tion.

“Long-term, a mix­ture of hous­ing types will be needed to ac­com­mo­date an equally di­verse work­force,” she said,

The Shire will pre­pare two lots on Hed­ditch Street and Wat­son Drive for de­vel­op­ment and dwelling con­struc­tion in Onslow next fi­nan­cial year.

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