Builder’s lo­cal ap­proach praised

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

Con­struc­tion of the Kar­ratha Health Cam­pus may have wrapped up but its builder’s largely res­i­den­tial em­ploy­ment model has been praised for hav­ing a last­ing im­pact.

It has prompted some work­ers to re­main in Kar­ratha af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the ben­e­fits of liv­ing lo­cally.

More than 70 per cent of the con­struc­tion work­force of Mul­ti­plex, in­clud­ing the key de­liv­ery team, were based in Kar­ratha dur­ing the two-year term of build­ing the $207.15 mil­lion hospi­tal, and since the project’s end some have de­cided to re­main.

One of those work­ers was sub­con­trac­tor and for­mer Fre­man­tle Dock­ers foot­baller Steven Dodd, who re­lo­cated to Kar­ratha with his wife and two daugh­ters for the job.

He said af­ter spend­ing less than a year in the re­gion the fam­ily had be­come im­mersed in the Pil­bara life­style and had no plans to leave.

“We drove into Kar­ratha and since then we haven’t looked back. To be hon­est, we ab­so­lutely love it up here,” he said.

“There are so many young fam­i­lies and there’s al­ways ac­tiv­i­ties for the kids to do.

“We’ve re­ally been sur­prised by that, and how fam­ily friendly the place is.”

“The more we travel around the re­gion the more we know this has been a great move for us, it’s some­thing other peo­ple should def­i­nitely con­sider.”

Mul­ti­plex project en­gi­neer Davis Coun­sel said he and his part­ner had also de­cided to stay on in Kar­ratha, pri­mar­ily for the out­door life­style.

“The life­style played a huge role in our de­ci­sion to stay on,” he said.

“It was a life­style we were com­pletely un­aware of be­fore com­ing to Kar­ratha.”

Mul­ti­plex su­per­vi­sor Wes­ley McClay, who moved to Kar­ratha two years ago af­ter a pe­riod of flyin, fly-out work and af­ter meeting his part­ner here, said liv­ing lo­cally had been a great move be­cause it made for a more set­tled life­style that avoided “the stress of miss­ing out on things, of miss­ing out on life”.

He said the com­pany’s large lo­cal work­force had cre­ated a pos­i­tive and team-ori­ented cul­ture around the hospi­tal project.

“When you’ve got lo­cal peo­ple, you get to know each other per­son­ally and it makes for a bet­ter work environment,” he said.

The lo­cal con­struc­tion work­force model also of­fered new em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for es­tab­lished Kar­ratha res­i­dents such as Jes­sica Carr.

Ms Carr worked in the min­ing in­dus­try be­fore mak­ing the move to con­struc­tion with Mul­ti­plex, work­ing on the hospi­tal project as a health, safety and environment ad­viser. She said the chance to work in a dif­fer­ent in­dus­try had boosted her skill set and hav­ing lo­cally based col­leagues had made for stronger pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships.

“It was an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity and I’m so glad I took it,” she said.

Mul­ti­plex re­gional man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Chris Pa­lan­dri said the com­pany was pleased with the re­sults de­liv­ered by its mostly res­i­den­tial work­force model. “From the out­set, we were com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure the com­mu­nity got the most out of the Kar­ratha Health Cam­pus project,” he said.

“A res­i­den­tially based work­force is a key el­e­ment of this, so it was a great re­sult to have up to 85 per cent of the work­force ei­ther liv­ing lo­cally or based in Kar­ratha for the du­ra­tion of the project.”

“It’s been an ex­cel­lent ex­pe­ri­ence for many of our staff as well, those based in Kar­ratha for many years and those mak­ing it their home for the first time.”

Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Terry Hill said Mul­ti­plex’s ap­proach showed the pos­i­tive im­pact res­i­den­tial work­forces could have on re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

“The legacy of the health cam­pus goes be­yond bricks and mor­tar, it’s cre­ated new op­por­tu­ni­ties for res­i­dents and at­tracted a new wave of res­i­dents and fam­i­lies to town,” he said.

“Em­ploy­ing a res­i­den­tial work­force should al­ways be the first op­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the Pil­bara where towns like Kar­ratha have the in­fra­struc­ture, op­por­tu­ni­ties and life­style to at­tract and re­tain res­i­dents.”

He also said hav­ing been com­pleted, the hospi­tal would con­tinue to at­tract a skilled work­force to Kar­ratha, be­ing “a highly de­sir­able work­place for health prac­ti­tion­ers and spe­cial­ists”.

PDC lo­cal con­tent ad­viser El­iza Car­bines said while it could be dif­fi­cult for Pil­bara com­pa­nies to at­tract out­side work­ers to the re­gion, the ap­proach taken by Mul­ti­plex has been a win-win for the project, the work­ers and for the lo­cal econ­omy.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Perera

Mul­ti­plex project en­gi­neer Davis Coun­sel, site su­per­vi­sor Wes­ley McClay, con­tracts man­ager Jonathan Firth, site man­ager Chris Mill­ward, site sec­re­tary Aleesia Mill­ward and PDC lo­cal con­tent ad­viser El­iza Car­bines out­side Kar­ratha Health Cam­pus.

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