Why Govt stepped in

Pilbara News - - Opinion -

The Pil­bara has been through an ex­traor­di­nar­ily long min­ing con­struc­tion boom.

It is a boom which not only pro­vided great op­por­tu­ni­ties but set chal­lenges that re­quired government in­ter­ven­tion.

The No. 1 is­sue dur­ing this time for com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses was the avail­abil­ity and cost of ac­com­mo­da­tion. A shop as­sis­tant or hair­dresser, for ex­am­ple, would never have been able to earn what it cost to af­ford a rental.

Even highly skilled, high-paid work­ers couldn’t live in the Pil­bara with­out sig­nif­i­cant as­sis­tance from a spon­sor com­pany or the government.

Ob­vi­ously a lot of peo­ple and busi­nesses fell through the cracks and ex­ited the re­gion, hurt­ing the com­mu­nity and local econ­omy.

Government in­ter­ven­tion and in­vest­ment comes in many forms but al­ways with the aim of de­liv­er­ing a pol­icy out­come.

For ex­am­ple, in met­ro­pol­i­tan Perth, the Government heav­ily sub­sidises pub­lic trans­port to get com­muters onto trains and re­duce con­ges­tion on the roads.

The government does not make a fi­nan­cial re­turn on this in­vest­ment.

In the Pil­bara, we in­vested in land and ac­com­mo­da­tion de­vel­op­ments for key work­ers and small busi­nesses.

Th­ese de­vel­op­ments were not a prop­erty play in which the Government sought to make a profit, they were an in­vest­ment in key work­ers, in small busi­nesses and in NGOs that oth­er­wise could not have sur­vived the boom.

De­vel­op­ments such as South Hed­land’s Cot­tier apart­ments and the Osprey key worker vil­lage, along with the Pe­lago tow­ers in Kar­ratha, are long-term com­mu­nity as­sets that were crit­i­cal to eas­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion pres­sures.

I have no doubt there will be fu­ture cy­cles of high hous­ing de­mand in the Pil­bara and for the first time in his­tory we’re in a po­si­tion to meet that de­mand.

We have plan­ning and in­fra­struc­ture in place to meet the needs of Kar­ratha and Port Hed­land as they grow into Pil­bara cities. Colin Holt MLC Min­is­ter for Hous­ing

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