Camp option for workers

Cecilia AllenManjimup-Bridgetown Times

Manjimup Shire Council is looking for public comment about a draft policy aimed at reducing unauthorised parking by backpackers in and around the CBD.

The policy would allow landowners to provide temporary camping for seasonal workers employed on their land. Shire president Wade DeCampo said the council had recognised the level of unauthorised camping by backpackers.

“There has been a debate for a number of years on going forward in relation to backpackers and unauthorised camping,” he said.

Cr DeCampo said the policy was just one of the endeavours to stop unauthorised camping.

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“It’s a vexing issue, it’s part of the solution not a whole one,” he said.

“There are a number of wider issues and a lot more that needs to be done, but we need to start somewhere.”

Cr DeCampo said there were a number of strategies the council was looking at to tackle the issue.

“We have to find a middle ground, we are reliant on backpackers and we don’t want to drive them away,” he said.

The draft policy outlines that up to 10 backpackers may be able to camp on private land located within the Priority Agriculture, General Agriculture and Rural Conservation areas for up to three months.

Licenses which cater for up to 20 people would be available, provided the council was satisfied that access was available to essential facilities, such as toilets and showers.

French backpacker Sabrina Difoullous, who has been travelling in WA since last May, said she thought temporary camping grounds for seasonal workers was a “great idea”.

“Sometimes it can be difficult to find a place to stay for a good price,” she said.

Backpacker Adrien Mehul, also from France, works at Newton’s Orchards and said temporary camping grounds would provide a place for people to stay while looking for permanent options.

A copy of the policy is available to view on the council website www.manjimup.wa.gov.au.

The closing date for submissions is 5pm January 31 and should be sent to the chief executive officer via post or email, which can be found on the council website.

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