Karratha community rejects camp proposal

City of Karratha residents have overwhelmingly rejected a Woodside proposal to build a 700-bed camp for its workers, including long-term operational staff.

A recent survey of 750 people found that 78 per cent of respondents did not agree that there was a need for the camp, while 80 per cent said that where possible operational workers should be accommodated residentially in town based dwellings.

The survey follows a report produced late last year by the Karratha Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KDCCI) that found that the current proposal would lead to a net loss of 69 local jobs, $4.8 million in local incomes and take $6.6 million per year from the local economy.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said it was clear that Woodside was out of touch with community expectations and that the current proposal would jeopardise local jobs and the economy.

“We understand that some short-term accommodation may be necessary during construction periods and maintenance shut-downs, but we believe there is sufficient supply in the current market to support this activity, and the community agrees, with the majority of survey respondents questioning the need for an additional camp,” Cr Long said.

“It’s abundantly clear that City of Karratha residents want Woodside employees and their contractors to be based locally.  The current proposal seeks to ingrain FIFO for day-to-day operational activities for at least the next 15 years which is completely out of sync with both the Council and the community’s expectations.”

Karratha Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry former President and incoming Chief Executive Officer Kylah Morrison said the KDCCI board supports Council’s position.

“We are sceptical about Woodside’s claims that this proposal will deliver good outcomes for local businesses. Previous experience with modular construction has resulted in very little employment for Karratha construction companies,” Mrs Morrison said.

“Historically, the operational workforce for Woodside’s camp contractor Compass is FIFO which the report shows would result in a loss of approximately 70 positions that are currently provided by existing local employees. While Woodside have indicated a commitment to local employment and procurement, the economic impact and community benefit would be much greater if the workforce was based residentially.”

The State Government is currently considering whether or not it will grant Woodside a 30-year lease for the Bay Village site in Karratha which would enable construction of the camp to take place.

The City is continuing to discuss the matter with the Minister for Planning and Lands Rita Saffioti and senior Woodside executives to see if a more suitable solution, which would provide better outcomes for the local community, can be found.

To read the survey results in full click here.