Ashburton to buy houses for Onslow staff
■ 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.