Kurra stayextended

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Kurra Village is set to remain open into next year after BHP said capital works at the replacement villages were yet to be completed.

The move, originally pegged to be finalised last year, was delayed again in April by another six months and it is understood the latest delay could now last well into next year.

According to a BHP spokes-woman, the latest delay had been caused by incomplete electrical works and upgrades at Kalgan’s Rest and Whaleback Village.

“The closure is now expected next year, as soon as additional works on Kalgan’s Rest and Whaleback Village are completed,” she said.

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Shire of East Pilbara president Lynne Craigie said the Shire had been working with BHP to make sure the closure went ahead.

“We still don’t want to see a camp in our town but we are also trying to be mindful of the circumstances they face,” she said.

The BHP spokeswoman said workers had been “transitioning” out of Kurra Village where possible since the beginning of the year.

“Earlier this year, some workers transitioned to the Newman Flats,” she said. “Workers will continue to transition from Kurra to Whaleback Village and Kalgan’s Rest as the upgraded facilities become available.”

Fly-in, fly-out camps remain a hot topic in the Pilbara with the Shire of Ashburton knocking back a three-year lease extension for Rio Tinto’s Tom Price camp, opting for a one-year extension instead.

Nationals WA leader Mia Davies criticised the Labor Government for not holding BHP to its word of an October closure.

“The Nationals WA have a long-standing policy opposing FIFO residential camps within 60km of an existing town,” she said.

“In government, Terry Redman stood his ground and refused to allow the extension of the lease on Kurra Village.

“The Labor Government needs to ensure BHP adheres to its 2016 commitment to close Kurra.”

When asked about the Labor Government’s policy regarding fly-in, fly-out accommodation, Planning and Lands Minister Rita Saffioti said the Department of Planning, Land and Heritage was developing a detailed briefing on workforce accommodation.

“Ministers will discuss the briefing in coming months,” she said.

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