Amid housing shortage, Binningup residents fight proposed labor camp ‘to the end’

Residents of a small town in Western Australia marched down a busy road to protest a $73million labor camp project, which they say they are fighting “all the way”.

US chemicals giant Albemarle has submitted plans to build the 500-person facility in the semi-rural town of Binningup, two hours south of Perth.

The company said the workers’ camp would be essential to accommodate the additional workforce needed for a major expansion of its nearby lithium refinery.

If approved by the state government’s Joint Development Appraisal Committee (JDAP) later this month, the village would include 128 accommodation villas, a commercial kitchen, recreation center and parking lot. of 350 seats.

Locals say the proposal is bad for the environment and the community.(ABC Southwest: Sam Bold)

But despite acknowledgment of the difficulties faced by businesses in housing their workers, Binningup Town Association spokesman Ross Sharp said the plans fell short of community expectations.

“At the end of the day, the community is frustrated with this process and frustrated with how quickly it was offered to them,” he said.

“We go all the way, we have good resources. It means a lot to the community, they don’t want it.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Albemarle said the company would continue to work with the community to find an acceptable solution.

Artist's impression of buildings in a green field.
The $73 million facility would house 500 workers and include a swimming pool and commercial kitchen.(Provided: Albemarle )

“Albemarle continues to inform, invite and respond to feedback from Binningup residents via a range of methods,” the spokesperson said.

“The village was designed to sit in the landscape and be shielded from view, with minimal community and environmental impacts.”

“Binningup Says No”

Harvey County, which is the responsible local government, has already strongly opposed the proposal as “contrary to the principles of orderly and proper planning”.

The main criticisms relate to the on-site sewage system proposed by the project, which posed a threat to nearby wetlands and farms.

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Binningup residents say they have sufficient resources in their fight to block the workers’ village project.(ABC Southwest: Sam Bold)

The amount of sewage and sewage generated would require two trucks per day to transport the effluent to a nearby treatment plant.

Albemarle also plans to zone the proposal as “residential,” which Harvey County has said is inconsistent with their planning plan.

Mr Sharp said the lack of connection to the community on the part of workers was also a major concern.

A man in a red shirt and akubra hat speaks into a microphone in front of a large tree.
Mr. Sharp says the community hasn’t had enough time to meet the demand for development.(ABC Southwest: Sam Bold)

“I was disappointed that Albemarle said he didn’t want his employees to interact with the community. I just don’t understand that,” he said.

“A smarter opportunity here would be to split the number of people into three and put it on residential land and join communities.

“Binningup says no.”

The application must be evaluated by the JDAP on October 27.

Artist's impression of the buildings at night.
Albemarle says the village will have minimal community and environmental impacts.(Provided: Albemarle)

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