Extra hotel rooms, more jobs for North West Queensland

Extra hotel rooms, more jobs for North West Queensland after flooding


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A work camp established at Julia Creek for Queensland Rail workers.

A work camp established at Julia Creek for Queensland Rail workers.

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Richmond and Julia Creek are reaping economic benefits including extra jobs and accommodation thanks to an influx of workers following the north west floods.

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Richmond and Julia Creek are reaping economic benefits including extra jobs and accommodation thanks to an influx of workers following the north west floods.

Public works minister Mick de Brenni said the makeshift flood recovery camps at Richmond and Julia Creek were established after existing accommodation options were exhausted by Queensland Rail crews. 

"A total of 180 Queensland Rail staff and contractors will call the camps their home away from home - 120 in Julia Creek and 60 in Richmond, as they work to re-open the Townsville to Mount Isa rail line," he said.

"All up we have 400 Queensland Rail staff and contractors in town working on the railway line - over half of them staying in local motels and other accommodation."

Marwill director Janene Fegan said the company was happy to establish a 120-bed workers camp in Julia Creek to cope with the influx of workers.

"We located hire companies in Mackay and Townsville that could supply us with 37 dongas - transportable temporary accommodation buildings which have rooms, toilets and shower facilities," she said. 

"Julia Creek company Corrina's Catering is providing the food, with most items sourced from our local grocery and butcher shops.

"The local service station is putting together packed lunches for workers subcontracted to Queensland Rail who are already in town.

"We have hired three casual staff to cope with the extra demand and have contracted work out to a local plumber, gas supplier, plant hire company and three builders."

Meanwhile Richmond will benefit from an extra 24 permanent beds at the Mud Hut Hotel, even after the work camps have been packed up.

Mud Hut Hotel owner Frank Beveridge said the pub had funded the installation of the new self-contained dongas based on getting a guarantee that the workers would use the facilities during the duration of the work.

"There's always been demand for more rooms but it's generally very seasonal," he said. 

"We've gone from having 12 rooms with a double bed and a single in each one, to adding 24 king single rooms.

"It will fill a gap and there will be a legacy left behind."

Mr Beveridge said he expected the rooms to get good use in the future from contract workers 

Work being carried out on the Mount Isa line. Supplied- Queensland Rail.

Work being carried out on the Mount Isa line. Supplied- Queensland Rail.

Richmond mayor John Wharton said the benefits of rebuilding efforts were quickly flowing through to the local communities.

"The floods may well have been a disaster for our cattle industry but a lot of jobs have been created in our town," he said.

"The motels are full, the pubs are full and all the workers are buying food and fuel - all that money is good for our community.

Transport minister Mark Bailey said having the workers camps set up so quickly meant Queensland Rail could engage a larger workforce to reopen the Mount Isa line in the next six to 10 weeks. 

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