Artist impressions of the chalet exteriorsWorkers struggling to cope with rising costs in Onslow will soon have more affordable housing options after the State Government unveiled 12 new two-bedroom chalets.

Strong economic growth from resources projects has seen the median private rental in the Pilbara coastal town climb to $1,800 per week.

The Government has stepped in to address the shortfall by placing 12 semi- furnished two-bedroom, two-bathroom chalets at Discovery Parks Onslow.

Eligible service workers will be able to rent the chalets, priced from $450 a week, from January 31 next year.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the Liberal National Government’s Royalties for Regions Housing would fund the $4.8m intervention project for Workers Program.

The Minister said the project would provide support for business and other organisations in Onslow by helping to ensure that key workers could afford to live in the town.

“Affordable housing is crucial to keep communities and businesses in regional Western Australia sustainable,” he said.

Grylls said the affordable housing

initiative was a short-term program that went hand in hand with the State Government release of 220 housing lots in Onslow, expected to be finished at the end of 2013.

The lots were being developed in a LandCorp residential estate and would have the potential to fit over 300 dwellings and house more than 700 people.

Housing Minister Bill Marmion said the increase in population in Onslow was impacting the ability of local businesses to deliver services.

“Retail, hospitality and community services businesses can’t afford to house their employees who earn a moderate income compared with resource sector wages,” Marmion said.

“Service workers and their employers are paying rents in Onslow, which are over three times more expensive than the Perth metropolitan area and are not affordable on the median weekly income of $1,466.

“This five-year temporary, but immediate solution has been possible due to the collaboration and contributions of the private sector holiday park operator Discovery Parks.”

Onslow has become a strategic hub for gas processing, storage and export with major projects including the $1.5 billion BHP Billiton Petroleum Macedon project and the $29 billion Chevron Wheatstone project which has an expected operating life of over 20 years.

An artist's impression of the 2-bedroom chalet's interior

The resource sector activity is expected to increase the population of Onslow from 700-800 people to 2,200 people by 2016.

The State Government recently conducted a survey in Onslow that found there are service workers in the town who are living in caravan parks and other informal housing arrangements.

Applications are now open until close of business on Wednesday October 30, 2013.

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