Workforce accommodation and regional communities – how to get the balance right

Post Date
21 November 2023
Roland Short
Read Time
2 minutes
  • Environmental & social impact assessment
  • Environmental management, permitting & compliance
  • Planning

Workforce accommodation is any type of housing designed to meet the needs of temporary or seasonal workers. In Australia, workforce accommodation is often used in regional and remote areas to support mining, construction, agriculture, and other industries.

While workforce accommodation is essential for many industries, it can also pose several challenges for communities. These challenges include potential distortions to local housing and accommodation markets, social and cultural tensions, infrastructure strain, and environmental impact.

Several contentious investigations at the state and federal levels have also uncovered a range of systemic issues associated with Fly In-Fly Out workforces and their impacts on host communities. Potential host communities have taken heed, and many new workforce accommodation developments are met with community angst and protest.

Planning authorities have responded in kind with a range of planning instruments and guidelines for workforce accommodation. These guidelines vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but they all cover similar topics, such as ensuring local communities are not disadvantaged using workforce accommodation, reducing amenity impacts and supporting positive social outcomes.

In addition to the guidelines, there are a number of other regulations that apply to the planning and development of workforce accommodation throughout Australia.

As Australia aims to meet its renewable energy targets through ambitious renewables and transmission developments and the resources sector expands to cater to the critical demand for minerals and metals during the transition, more workforce accommodation developments will be necessary for these projects.

The lack of cohesive, coordinated approaches to workforce accommodation across the country and the cumulative impacts occurring across many diverse host communities pose significant challenges for proponents who need these developments to proceed to meet critical paths.

SLR provide a full-service offering supporting clients to simplify the workforce accommodation development process. Our team of social specialists, community engagement practitioners, and urban and regional planning professionals can facilitate development applications and approvals processes through:

  • Local Demand and Accommodation Capacity Studies
  • Social Impact Assessments
  • Workforce Management Plans
  • Development Assessments
  • Plannings and Approvals Support

To discuss how our team can assist with providing a cohesive and coordinated approach to your workforce accommodation process, please get in touch.

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