Plans to solve Queensland accommodation shortages

Gladstone Regional Council has approved the development of a new workers village in Targinie, Queensland.

The approval of a 405 room village is set to take some of the heat off current accommodation shortages in the Gladstone region the Gladstone Observer reported.

However, support for the project is far from unanimous with some councillors voting against the application because of its proximity to QER shale oil plant.

Building will not go ahead until owners consider any conditions placed on the project.

As yet, there has been no tenant confirmed for the housing.

However, the observer reported there had been speculation that the nearby steel mill to be built by Boulder Steel would be an obvious target.

The original development proposal was for a 1017 room project which was rejected by the council last year.

Meanwhile, in Queensland’s North West another accommodation village for more than 1,000 people has been proposed for a site less than one kilometre from the Mount Isa Airport.

The North West Star reported Mayor Tony McGrady would not confirm whether the project was intended for fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers.

"My understanding is that you can pull up and book in for a week if you would like to but these are the kinds of things that are outside of council control," he said.

"But I believe it will be serviced accommodation and how it is used will be up to the company.

"We ensure it meets the town planning criteria but it's not council's role to determine whether the proposal is economic."

State member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter said there was no doubt the Mount Isa accommodation proposal was for FIFO workers.

"It couldn't be for anything else," he said.

"I can only draw one conclusion (from the proposal) and that would be FIFO."

Katter said the proposal was not in the city's favour.

"It sounds like a complete contrast to how Mount Isa should be developed," he said.

"The reality is, the more permanent we make accommodation solutions for temporary workers, the more we encourage FIFO and diminish options for permanent residents," he said.

The plan for the 13.8 hectare site is to build 960 single resident units along with 40 townhouses made up of 20 two bedroom residences and 20 three-bedroom residents.

McGrady said the application for the project had been lodged to council and is open for public comment until November 30.

Australian Mining has covered both sides of the FIFO debate and depending on who you ask they are either an industry necessity or a nuisance.

FIFO workers have been blamed for everything from the spread of STIs to a rise in crime and disorder in mining communities.

However, figuring out whether these reports correspond with reality is much trickier.

Australian Mining reported that while fear of crime is on the rise in these rapidly expanding communities, quite often actual crime is not.

"Crime isn't necessarily going up in mining communities despite there being a sense that the crime rate is increasing," Professor John Scott from the University of New England told Australian Mining at the time.

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