Pilbara News - - Front Page - Shan­non Beattie

Kar­ratha is set for a pop­u­la­tion boost as Woodside pre­pares to tran­si­tion Pluto LNG and Kar­ratha Gas Plant to a pre­dom­i­nantly res­i­den­tial work­force over the next five to 10 years.

En­ergy gi­ant Woodside has made a com­mit­ment to tran­si­tion most of its fly-in, fly-out staff ser­vic­ing on­shore gas fa­cil­i­ties in the Pil­bara to res­i­den­tial po­si­tions in the next five to 10 years.

Although the change is in the early stages, Woodside ex­pects the num­ber of ad­di­tional lo­cal roles in Kar­ratha by the mid to late 2020s to be in the low hun­dreds.

Woodside chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Meg O’Neill said the com­pany was mak­ing changes to its way of work­ing that would sup­port its com­mit­ment to the Pil­bara for decades to come.

“We have ad­vised em­ploy­ees that Pluto and Kar­ratha Gas Plant will move to­wards a pre­dom­i­nantly res­i­den­tial work­force, en­abling our peo­ple to live where they work and build­ing a strong team and com­mu­nity con­nec­tion,” she said.

Kar­ratha and Dis­tricts Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try chief ex­ec­u­tive Ky­lah Mor­ri­son said the tran­si­tion would have mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits and lead to a more com­mit­ted lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“There is a def­i­nite men­tal health ben­e­fit for those work­ers, we’ve got such fan­tas­tic in­fra­struc­ture, ser­vices and schools in the Pil­bara and it makes such a dif­fer­ence to be able to go home to your fam­ily every night,” she said.

The move is set to be a long-term change, with the new off­shore Scar­bor­ough and Browse fa­cil­i­ties still pro­vid­ing FIFO op­por­tu­ni­ties and a small num­ber of spe­cial­ist roles at Kar­ratha Gas Plant and Pluto LNG re­main­ing FIFO.

“We are fo­cused on en­sur­ing the tran­si­tion is as smooth as pos­si­ble for all of our peo­ple and their fam­i­lies,” Ms O’Neill said.

Ms Mor­ri­son said it would re­sult in a big life­style change for many of its em­ploy­ees. “I think it’s a prag­matic ap­proach that they’re tak­ing,” she said. “It’s a great re­sult for the com­mu­nity, so five to 10 years is not a long time in the grand scheme of things.”

There is a def­i­nite men­tal health ben­e­fit for those work­ers. Ky­lah Mor­ri­son

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