Opportunities for local businesses and local employment
The project will create a significant number of jobs during the construction period, which will last approximately 4 years. There will also be opportunities for local small and medium sized businesses to tender for sub-contracts or benefit from increased spending in the region, with the potential to create even more jobs. Youth unemployment in surrounding towns is high, and there are many people in the Somerset Region who could benefit from new job or business opportunities.
Rental availability and affordability
We anticipate many of the workers employed on the construction project will already live in the Somerset Region, while other workers will come from outside the region. Some of those workers may be accommodated in a construction workers camp. Others may choose to move to the region for the duration of the project, possibly with their families.
CRG members expressed concern that demand from construction workers moving into the area could drive up rental prices and push locals out of the market. They were also concerned about impacts on community services such as health and education and the need to supply facilities and entertainment for construction workers.
Construction workers camp
The construction contractor may choose to establish a worker’s camp to provide accommodation for construction workers. Workers camps are typically single person accommodation only. Seqwater has found suitable locations for a worker’s camp at the Somerset Dam campgrounds, the old Caboonbah Homestead site, or in either Esk or Toogoolawah. CRG members considered the benefits and issues of each site and the potential impact of a worker’s camp in each community.
Mitigation and enhancement measures
CRG members proposed the following measures to reduce impacts and enhance benefits:
- Set targets for employment and procurement from the Somerset Region during the construction period. Read Somerset Dam upgrade fact sheet.
- Seqwater and Somerset Regional Council to jointly host an Industry Briefing for small and medium sized businesses in the Somerset Region to raise awareness of upcoming opportunities.
- Establish a register for local businesses to express interest in work associated with the project, and notify registered businesses when opportunities to tender become available.
- Offer a number of traineeships, school-based traineeships and/or apprenticeships for Somerset Region residents on the project.
- Conduct a survey of temporary accommodation options in the region, such as caravan parks, conversion of holiday homes into rental properties, or temporary use of farm workers cottages.
- Liaise with Somerset Regional Council to temporarily ease restrictions on use of farm workers cottages for accommodation.
- Share information about alternative rental accommodation options with construction workers.
- Contractor to enforce a Behaviour Agreement with construction workers living in the community.
- Workers camp to supply off street parking for workers.
- Bus transport between workers camp and construction site.
- Workers camp should supply access to entertainment facilities such as internet, TV and gym equipment.
- CRG members felt, on balance, the old Caboonbah Homestead site was the best option for a worker’s camp.
Do you have any other feedback or ideas? Share them with the CRG by emailing [email protected]