Transient housing fix

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Manjimup Shire Council is investigating options for housing transient workers.
Camera IconManjimup Shire Council is investigating options for housing transient workers. Credit: South Western Times

Concern for transient workers and travellers has led the Manjimup Shire Council to begin contingency planning to provide housing options during winter.

The council’s main concern is for people stranded in the region by COVID-19 travel restrictions, who might not have the financial resources to house themselves during the winter months.

“For a start we have to get them accommodation under cover, instead of them camping on the ground,” shire president Paul Omodei said.

“Come June, July and August, the weather can be very bitter and if you’ve been camping out and you’ve got no alternative place to go, what we’re doing is trying to find accommodation for those people so at least they are undercover.”

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Other concerns the council has for travellers include how their financial resources will affect their ability to access food, medicine and general supplies, as there is a lack of seasonal work in the shire during the winter months.

Backpacker Laura Canu, from Sardinia in Italy, is working at Newton Orchards in Manjimup and said she did not have accommodation organised after work finishes in 1.5 months.

She said her ability to financially support herself depended on how long the travel restrictions were in place.

The council is in the process of ascertaining the number of backpackers within the area.

“We are getting very good co-operation from accommodation owners, farmers and the Department of Biosecurity, Conservation and Attractions in ascertaining how many numbers there are,” Cr Omodei said.

“We should know within a short period of time how many numbers there are and what the scale of the issue may be.”

Cr Omodei stressed the importance of transient workers to Manjimup’s economy.

“We rely on them to be able to harvest our produce and that produce brings money to our district, which keeps the economy of our district running,” he said

Anyone able to help should contact the Manjimup Shire Council’s recovery group on 0499 550 224.

“Whether it’s surplus food or whether it’s accommodation that they might have... if there are any more people who want to come forward and contact the recovery group, that will go a long way,” Cr Omodei said.

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