Council call to reject camp
The divisive debate on a 700-bed fly-in, fly-out workers’ camp planned for Karratha continues as councillors last week urged the State Government to reject plans for the facility, describing it as “anti-local”.
City of Karratha councillors considered their official position on a lease for Woodside’s planned Bay Village facility at a meeting last Monday in response to a State Government request, and unanimously voted to oppose it.
The final motion states the City will advise ministers it objects to the facility, write to Woodside’s board asking for the lease to be reconsidered, and request that the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage deny the application.
It also stated City chief executive Chris Adams would talk to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage director-general about the City potentially leasing land flagged for the camp, instead of Woodside proponent DIF.
“The proposal is anti-local jobs, anti-local business and does not demonstrate a commitment to best practice by Woodside,” it said.
Woodside Australian business vice-president Brad Russell-Lane said the company was “disappointed” with the City’s position on the proposed development. “We’re committed to Karratha and we’ll continue to keep working closely with the community, City of Karratha and State Government on these matters,” he said.
Woodside is planning to build the new $400 million FIFO workers’ camp on Balmoral Road in Nickol as an an alternative to the company’s previously planned Gap Ridge Village facility.
The facility would house workers for new company projects including a life extension of the North West Shelf Project, processing natural gas from the Browse Basin and expanding the Pluto LNG plant.
Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said he had some concerns there was little residential work involved in the camp’s construction and maintenance, and said the current proposal did not strike the right balance.
However, he said he would be lobbying Woodside and several Government ministers to increase the number of local jobs available.
WA Nationals deputy leader Jacqui Boydell also criticised the planned camp, saying Woodside had not demonstrated why it needed a FIFO camp for local projects.
The State Government is yet to approve a lease application for the facility but is canvassing the opinions of local groups to inform its decision.