Hutchinson Builders Condabri.   Photo Contributed
Hutchinson Builders Condabri. Photo Contributed Contributed

Condabri workers camp to close for good

AFTER nearly a year of negotiations, Origin has decided it will close its 400-bed Condabri workers camp for good.

The decision was reached in the last fortnight, and was formally announced to the Miles & Districts Chamber of Commerce - the group that spearheaded the push for the camp's closure - at a meeting last night.

Origin regional manager Tim Ogilvie said that in working with the Western Downs Regional Council and the chamber, Origin had decided to also "transition their construction and contracting workforce away from Condabri and Talinga based accommodation.”

The company initially announced it would move its permanent employees from the two camps to the region's towns as part of its "live local” initiative in late February. But Origin had, up until recently, wanted its temporary workforce to remain in Condabri because they "continued to work across the region drilling and connecting wells, constructing related infrastructure, and do not have a fixed work location”.

That approach didn't wash with council or the chamber, who were unwavering in their position to see the camp close by its late August expiration date, a condition of Origin's (Australia Pacific LNG's) Environmental Impact Statement when it was approved back in 2010.

Mr Ogilvie said it was important for Origin to continue to work with community representatives to ensure the changes are "positive from a local perspective”.

"While there's detail to be worked through over the next few weeks, the result will be even more of our workforce living locally by the end of the year,” he said.

To date, around 80% of Origin's operations staff have moved or have plans to move shortly from Condabri and Talinga into local accomodation arrangements in the region's towns - predominantly Miles and Chinchilla.

Along with the chamber and council, Warrego MP Ann Leahy had been heavily involved in the discussions. WDRC Mayor Paul McVeigh said the council was "very pleased” to hear of Origin's decision and the regional towns of Miles, Chinchilla and even Dalby would be "keen to hear” of the announcement.

Cr McVeigh said gas companies were "all part of the fabric of our society” and now "part of our communities as well”.

"This has been a three-way partnership and like any of these relationships every now and again there's a bit of tough love, but I'm very happy to hear Origin will have a much bigger footprint in our communities,” he said.

"We can supply all the accommodation that's needed across our region and as the (CSG) footprint moves, we have enough to accommodate all the need that's there. We are not wanting another man camp built elsewhere; we want people living in our community.”

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