Workforce Accommodation and Housing

The shortage of residential housing and workforce accommodation across the region is a major barrier to development in all the Gascoyne’s key industry sectors. Worker accommodation shortages are a significant challenge for horticultural, tourism and hospitality labour markets in particular. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated peak season accommodation shortages in Exmouth and Coral Bay and contributed to new residential accommodation shortages elsewhere in the region.

In 2021 the Commission began a project to investigate functional land and housing market constraints, identify and prioritise the source of market failures, and advocate to implement corrective action. The overall objective of this project is to alleviate the shortage of residential and worker housing in the Gascoyne.

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Exmouth town

In June 2021, URBIS was engaged to review residential housing availability and market failure in the Gascoyne. URBIS provided a report which was finalised in January 2022. The Report recommended three priority areas to drive increased worker housing availability and create the conditions for increased private sector investment, these are:

  • Unlock private capital – support private sector investment in new construction and renovations.
  • Optimise government assets – enhance the utilisation of public and government regional officer housing and land assets.
  • Innovate the home – stimulate alternative housing options.

The Commission considered these priority areas and the associated list of 20 recommended actions and developed a Gascoyne Housing Action Plan around 11 priority actions, this plan may be subject to change as the housing environment changes:

  1. Support the Exmouth worker's accommodation land release Expression of Interest (EOI).
  2. Facilitate private sector investment in an Exmouth workers accommodation development.
  3. Investigate options for funding new residential land head works in Gascoyne Junction.
  4. Group accommodation development in Denham.
  5. Develop new worker's accommodation in Coral Bay.
  6. Investigate a preferred option for the next 100 houses in Carnarvon to improve liveability, maximise public benefit and reduce the cost of development.
  7. Convene a regional forum with relevant stakeholders including directors general and agency executives.
  8. Develop a site opportunity prospectus and EOI process for key government owned sites that could be offered to the market to support worker housing.
  9. Publish six-monthly housing and land snapshots by local government area/town.
  10. Undertake housing construction and land development feasibility benchmarking study to explore opportunities for incentives and alternative construction methods to deliver worker housing.
  11. Through the Western Australian Regional Development Alliance prepare a 2022/23 cross-regional land activation budget ask with a focus on addressing workforce accommodation shortages.

The Commission is dedicated to delivering these actions by collaborating with State and Local Governments, industry, and private investors to advocate for and bring about change.


Gascoyne Worker Housing Action Plan

Regional Australia Institute, Building the Good Life Foundations of Regional Housing