Roadwork threat to mine jobs

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

The State Gov­ern­ment is walk­ing a tight time­line to seal the Kar­ratha to Tom Price Road, with any de­lays now likely to put 700 lo­cal drive-in, drive-out jobs from the pro­posed Flin­ders mine site at risk.

City of Kar­ratha chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Adams did not mince his words at last week’s coun­cil meet­ing, stat­ing if the next stage of plan­ning works did not be­gin this week, the road may not be fin­ished in time for BBI Group to con­sider a DIDO work­force.

Mr Adams said fur­ther pres­sure points would come in Oc­to­ber when ap­provals needed to be in place, and in April when con­struc­tion would have to be­gin.

Adding fur­ther com­pli­ca­tion is con­fir­ma­tion from Main Roads WA it has re­cently been made aware of the pres­ence of as­bestos on the road.

A Main Roads WA spokes­woman said Main Roads was as­sist­ing the Shire of Ash­bur­ton with de­vel­op­ment of an as­bestos man­age­ment plan to ar­range re­moval of the ma­te­rial.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti said the next step would be to gain ap­provals from the Yind­jibarndi peo­ple, on whose land the road sits, en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­provals, and land ten­ure process.

“The de­sign and the clear­ances in­for­ma­tion ac­quired at the ini­tial plan­ning stages are cur­rently be­ing re­viewed to en­sure that the de­sign com­plies with stan­dards and leg­isla­tive clear­ance re­quire­ments . . . cur­rently, we have a 15 per cent con­cept de­sign for stages three and four,” she said.

The next stage of plan­ning works is ex­pected to cost about $800,000 and in­cludes geotech, hy­drol­ogy and heritage sur­veys.

The City of Kar­ratha and Shire of Ash­bur­ton have both agreed to chip in funds for this work to get the road seal rolling.

City of Kar­ratha coun­cil­lors voted nine-two in favour of al­lo­cat­ing $200,000 to the plan­ning works at last week’s meet­ing.

Cr Fiona White-Har­tig voted against the mo­tion, stat­ing the road was not in the City’s bound­ary and the road seal was based on the hope BBIG would em­ploy a DIDO work­force.

Shire of Ash­bur­ton pres­i­dent Kerry White failed to re­spond by time of print.

BBIG has al­ready promised 215 Balla Balla port and rail jobs will be based in the City of Kar­ratha and the Town of Port Hed­land.

Cur­rent plans have an aero­drome go­ing into the Flin­ders mine site for a fly-in, fly-out work­force, but BBIG ex­ec­u­tives have stated if the Kar­ratha to Tom Price Road is sealed in time, 700 op­er­a­tional jobs could be based in Kar­ratha and Tom Price on a DIDO ros­ter in­stead.

Mod­el­ling pre­pared by the Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion es­ti­mates a DIDO work­force from the Flin­ders mine would in­ject more than $1.6 bil­lion into the Pil­bara econ­omy and cre­ate al­most 500 ad­di­tional jobs.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Kar­ratha to Tom Price Road.

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