Council ticks rezone bid for temporary workers’ housing in Exmouth

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Liam BeattyMidwest Times
Welcome signage located at the entrance to Exmouth.
Camera IconWelcome signage located at the entrance to Exmouth. Credit: Supplied

Exmouth Shire councillors have unanimously endorsed a proposal to rezone more than 20ha of commercial land to allow for construction of workers’ accommodation.

Business leaders in the tourist town have warned for months they will struggle to keep up with tourism demand if they cannot attract workers to the area.

“Staff are willing to move here for work, however they cannot as they have nowhere to live,” a spokesperson for the Exmouth Chamber of Commerce said.

“The need to provide suitable housing and accommodation for the casual and permanent workforce in Exmouth is urgent and serious.”

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The area of land, bounded by Murat Road and Nimitz, Reid and Welch streets, was identified in February as an ideal location for workers’ accommodation by the Shire.

At the May ordinary council meeting, Shire of Exmouth staff presented the council with a proposal to rezone the commercial land to allow the construction of temporary accommodation units.

“The purpose of this additional use is to provide temporary workforce accommodation directly related to business activities in Exmouth,” the proposal reads.

“The additional use shall cease to have effect after 30 June 2026.”

Councillors voted to support the plan, which will now be sent to the Western Australian Planning Commission and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti for final appro-val.

In March, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan pledged to prioritise the development of 50 units.

However, a survey of businesses by the Exmouth Chamber of Commerce estimated the town’s need for accommodation was 100-150 beds.

“The threat of not having enough staff simply due to a lack of available housing is unacceptable and distressing,” the spokesperson said.

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