Opportunity for Woodside to highlight ‘social licence’
Woodside has a great opportunity to positively contribute to the future of Karratha through its proposed 700-bed facility for its operational and maintenance FIFO workforce.
Apparently, the capital and operational budget for the facility is $300 million over 15 years with an option for another 15 years.
This is a significant long-term investment. There is also an additional 300-bed component, taking the Woodside accommodation requirement to 1000 beds; roughly 400 for operational workers and the balance for maintenance workers.
We are coming off a major construction boom during which short-term solutions, put in place to meet massive accommodation and labour demands, are no longer conducive to the long term viability and sociability of the Karratha community.
FIFO workers camps were in effect minimum-security facilities where workers were controlled and had little integration with the Karratha community.
The negative social, psychological and productivity impacts on the FIFO workforce are well documented.
A quickly emerging global dynamic is the “social licence to operate”.
Business and governments need to understand the importance of being a good neighbour, and to facilitate the development of strong and sustainable communities.
The Karratha community and the City council do not want another FIFO workers camp.
Ideally, the workforce should live permanently in Karratha.
However this is not always feasible, particularly for shutdown maintenance.
The FIFO workforce needs deep integration into the community and the closer to the central business area the better.
Unfortunately, the $300 million budget appears skewed in its costings towards the old FIFO workers camp model
A new FIFO workforce accommodation model, based on the principle of deep integration, would increase usage of local community facilities and have a multiplier effect on small business and employment.