Proposed Moree accommodation village to house Inland Rail workers

The proposed design for the Moree Accommodation Village, to be located at Carmine Munro Avenue in the Moree Gateway precinct. Photo: supplied
The proposed design for the Moree Accommodation Village, to be located at Carmine Munro Avenue in the Moree Gateway precinct. Photo: supplied

An accommodation village at Moree's Gateway precinct has been proposed to house the influx of Inland Rail workers set to arrive in Moree from early next year.

With construction of the Narrabri to North Star section of the Inland Rail officially underway, a development application will this week be submitted for approval for a temporary 350-room facility to house up to 350 workers who are set to arrive in Moree by April next year.

The proposed Moree Accommodation Village will be located at Carmine Munro Avenue, near Moree Airport, and will include an administration office, central dining room, recreation room, gymnasium, first aid facilities, landscaping, a car park and bus set-down areas.

The facility will be constructed by worker accommodation village provider QCV which has been subcontracted by Trans4m Rail to deliver an accommodation solution for Moree.

Moree Plains Shire councillors were last week briefed on the proposed village by QCV's Lee Bermingham during the council meeting on Thursday, November 26.

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Mr Bermingham said housing the workers in a village structure will help to minimise the negative socio-economic impacts of having a sudden influx of workers in town, such as spikes in rental costs and housing availability, as well as fluctuating demand for local commodities.

There will be no alcohol supplied within the village, and no shops, which Mr Bermingham said will encourage workers to spend money in town with local businesses.

"In our other villages, we've found that the average person spends roughly $400 a week in the local town, although that's probably $500 now," he said.

"It's quite a boost to the town."

And while there is a dining room which will provide food, Mr Bermingham said people do like to go out for a meal in town where they can get a drink or a coffee.

The village will also provide employment for local people, with up to 25 job opportunities available, from administration roles to cleaning, maintenance and kitchen staff.

"We want to employ as many locals as we can," Mr Bermingham said.

"We will bring in chefs but will employ everyone else locally."

Workers will also be encouraged to join local sporting groups and social clubs while they're in Moree.

And although personal laundry facilities will be provided for the workers, Mr Bermingham said there is an opportunity for a commercial laundry to be established in Moree if there is someone interested in setting one up.

There is currently no commercial laundry in Moree, so at this point, the accommodation village will have to send sheets and linen to Goondiwindi to be washed commercially.

"It's a bit of a shame for Moree to miss out on that business," Mr Bermingham said.

"If somebody wants to set one up, we'll help them. It's just another opportunity for local employment."

The DA for the Moree Accommodation Village will be submitted to council this week. It will then go on public exhibition and once approved, building will begin.

Mr Bermingham said the aim is for it to be completed by April for Inland Rail workers to start using it.

Workers involved in the construction of the village will stay at the Gwydir Caravan Park.

A number of information sessions will be held this week for interested community members, as well as direct engagement with neighbouring landowners.