Workers’ wages stuck out in West Stowe camp
GLADSTONE accommodation providers have reaped $130 million from Bechtel since work on Curtis Island begun but now that things are winding down, they are fighting for a scrap of what's left.
The manager of Mid City Motor Inn Gladstone Kunal Bhatt wants remaining workers on the LNG projects to stay in Gladstone itself and in turn, provide a boost for businesses who are continuing to struggle in the downturn.
The remaining workforce is expected to come back to the mainland as the workers' camps are decommissioned. And while some workers will be housed in Gladstone the majority will be kept at Homeground at West Stowe.
Mr Bhatt once worked on Curtis Island and said workers simply wouldn't spend money in town if they were staying at Homeground.
"Most of them won't come into town and will just spend money at the camp," he said.
"If they come to (live in) Gladstone they will have options for food and be able to have a life."
But Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said: "It's not as simple as dropping a group of people at accommodation providers and leaving them to fend for themselves." He said he had to consider transport to and from ferry terminals, meals for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner and a consistent standard of accommodation.
Homeground provides that by supplying the workforce with three meals a day seven days a week. "These are significant decisions costing millions of dollars. Commercial and economic factors affecting our business are a large part of what is considered to ensure the right decisions are made."
Homeground business development manager Matt Jones said his business wasn't immune to the downturn either and Bechtel's business helped support his 90% local staff.
"We are continually working with the local community and only this week have agreed to aupport two local kindergartens and a netball team," he said.