FIFO accommodation lease extension up for debate

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Laura NewellNorth West Telegraph

The future of BHP’s Port Haven transient worker’s accommodation will be on the agenda at tonight’s Town of Port Hedland council meeting.

The late item concerns the potential renewal of the lease for Port Haven, which would otherwise end in March 2019.

Officers are recommending councillors approve an “in principle” extension of the lease for three years with two further options of one year each.

But that agreement would come with several provisons, which include the Town and BHP coming to an agreement over the percentage of the firm’s workforce permanently based in Port Hedland.

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The lease for the accommodation has officially been novated to Port Hedland International Airport as part of their 50-year agreement, but the terms of that lease specify the TWA leases including Port Haven cannot be renewed or extended without the consent of the Town.

A letter included in the agenda item for the meeting tonight, sent by BHP to former Town mayor Kelly Howlett and chief executive Mal Osborne revealed the company was concerned about the extension of the Port Haven lease at the time bidding for the airport lease was being undertaken.

The letter said: “unfortunately the public debate surrounding FIFO and the position of some members of the Town means we cannot be confident that the option of renewing the Port haven lease beyond 2019 will be open to us and we will need to advise the bidders (for the airport lease) accordingly”.

BHP say the FIFO accommodation is required despite the firm “already having a majority of its workforce living residentially in the Town”, for a “variety of reasons”.

For more on this story, pick up the North West Telegraph next week.

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