Why Govt stepped in
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