Newman camp numbers debate continues

Local council has again voiced its disapproval of the WA Government move to renew BHP’s lease on the 1200 bed Kurra Camp, located near Newman.

The lease for the camp expires at the end of 2015.

Shire of East Pilbara CEO Allen Cooper has demanded the camp be downsized to 600 beds, and remaining workers be housed vacant properties to enhance the town’s economy.

"The shire continues to push to see if they can reduce the numbers at Kurra village, ultimately it is an arrangement between BHP and the state but we would like at least the Premier to consider what has been put forward," he said.

"We can only put what we think is the best for the community and that's what council is voted in to do, to continue to push for the community direction and we'll continue to push until such a time as we know a clear picture."

Cooper said BHP had 300 to 400 empty accommodation units in town that could be used for residential employees.

“That will support town rather than a FIFO camp where no-one mixes," he said.

Nationals leader Terry Redman supported the local shire, recently threatening the Coalition relationship in WA when he said he would refuse to sign off on the deal between the WA Government and BHP, unless the camp is downsized from 1600 to 600 beds.

BHP has said at present only 500 workers are accommodated in the camp, while 750 are accommodated in the town.

BHP corporate affairs vice president Julius Matthys, in an internal correspondence, told employees that the company would not force any FIFO workers to become residential staff.

Matthys also said that a survey of 150 FIFO workers had found that 10 people had expressed interest in relocating to Newman.

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