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Whyalla steel works

Renewal SA’s Office for Regional Housing will play an ongoing role identifying and unlocking strategic land in Whyalla to support the city’s future accommodation needs, as the Upper Spencer Gulf region seeks to deliver $10 billion in major projects – including the Hydrogen Jobs Plan - in the next six years.

Working in conjunction with the City of Whyalla, Office of Hydrogen Power South Australia and other government agencies and stakeholders, the Office will focus on prioritising vacant State Government-owned land that has the capacity to cater for the large-scale workforce required to deliver these green energy projects, and will assist the city meet its short, medium and long-stay accommodation needs in a coordinated way.

Its work will be guided by a new Whyalla Master Plan and give due consideration to outcomes that best serve the local community as it evolves from its ‘Steel City’ status to a clean energy future.

As more projects come online and the city’s population grows, it is projected the need for temporary and permanent housing in Whyalla will swell into the thousands.

In addition to housing, the city will also require supportive social infrastructure and well-planned civic spaces to provide the quality of life needed to attract and retain a skilled workforce.

Office for Regional Housing Director Matt Hunt said the team was working collaboratively with all stakeholders to identify priority sites based on a range of factors including location, land size, zoning, services and infrastructure, and other aspects that have the ability to progress development quickly.

“In a globally competitive market for investment in the hydrogen industry, it will be incredibly important that South Australia is able to offer an attractive accommodation and lifestyle proposition for the workforce that we need to attract,” Mr Hunt said.

“Being well located within the city is vital to both assist the city’s long-term growth and ensure that the future workforce can connect and integrate with the city and the Whyalla community.”

Civil works on the Upper Spencer Gulf’s hydrogen power station, electrolysers and storage facility are scheduled to begin in the second half of the year.

To cater for the immediate need for worker accommodation, the state government announced on 25 February, the delivery of 82 new short-stay cabins in Whyalla. Thirty-two high-quality cabins will be built at Discovery Parks’ Whyalla Foreshore Caravan and Holiday Park, under an agreement between it and G’day Group, owner of Discovery Parks and workforce accommodation business Discovery Workstay.

A Heads of Agreement has also been signed by the state government with Upper Spencer Gulf business Bentley’s Cabin Parks to progress plans to build 50 cabins at Kloeden Reserve - with the potential for future expansion.

Positioned on Lincoln Highway in Whyalla Norrie, close to Whyalla Airport, the 18-hectare Kloeden Reserve will be subdivided into four allotments, with Bentley’s Cabin Parks seeking to purchase 6.94 hectares at market value on the south-eastern corner of the site for development.

“Most importantly, this is not temporary accommodation that will be moved on when current projects are complete – it represents a long-term investment in Whyalla,” Whyalla Mayor Phill Stone said.

“The Upper Spencer Gulf is South Australia’s engine room to cut pollution, boost green manufacturing and deliver energy production on a massive scale. Set to become a powerhouse for the nation, the region needs even further housing and infrastructure projects from all levels of government and private investors to fully capitalise on this once-in-a-generation opportunity.

“We look forward to continuing to partner with the state government on further housing and social infrastructure initiatives that ensure the best outcomes for our existing community, while supporting the growth that will enable even more people to call Whyalla ‘home’ in the future.”

Engagement with residents and stakeholders will soon commence to gather insights and align accommodation solutions with the needs of the community.

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