Gerry Harvey's investment in housing will pay dividends

Mining camp a home away from home

GERRY Harvey's move to commit an additional $100m to providing miners' housing in Gladstone and Chinchilla is right on the money, according to REIQ Gladstone zone chairman Mark Spearing.

The Australian reported yesterday the Harvey Norman co-founder and executive chairman was looking at joint-venture mining accommodation investments of up to $100m, following an initial outlay of up to $60 million building transportable accommodation units, or "dongas".

Mr Spearing, principal of LJ Hooker Gladstone, said Mr Harvey was generally on the money.

"Gerry Harvey is not often wrong. He's a very commonsense guy who gets on with the job and I think he will do well out of this venture. I think he really well and truly understands the fundamentals," Mr Spearing said.

He said there are signs indicating that industry was not finished in town.

REIQ Gladstone zone chairman Mark Spearing.
REIQ Gladstone zone chairman Mark Spearing. Tom Huntley

"Only today Bechtel have done an article that says they desperately need 6000 people to get skilled up to work in Gladstone, so I suppose the numbers speak for themselves."

With all the past turmoil of a real estate market that couldn't keep up still fresh in people's memories, Mr Spearing believes Mr Harvey's move is a positive for the Gladstone real estate market.

"All he's doing is accommodating, seemingly, for short-term situations. So in fact he's actually going to be helping markets be more robust and reduce the peaks and troughs.

"You take the Gladstone market, for example. The activity was so fast and rapid, and particularly rents went up so quickly, that it was basically impossible for a lot of local people to adjust, and if they weren't a part of it in that particular employment sector, well then they got left behind.

"I think it's good that if there is a player in this market sector that it's Gerry, because he's a good operator and the job will get done. So that's a positive."

Mining camp a home away from home

IT'S a place to sleep while workers live in Gladstone for an indefinite period of time, but in terms of appearances of the Home Ground Village, it's not the worst place to be.

The village is an example of a mining accommodation camp in Gladstone - although it's one of the nicer ones.

Food and beverage supervisor Darren Baber (see video above), 22, lives and works in the Home Ground village, with a roster of two weeks on and two weeks off, from his home on the Gold Coast.

"Living in it since February, I've lived and breathed the lifestyle," he said.

"I have a lot friends that do (live on the other camps).

"It's sort of more the atmosphere and the people that make it easier to live. If you're stuck remote and you don't have your friends and family, you need that comfort."

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