Opposition pays tribute to Mid West on Cyclone Seroja anniversary

The Opposition has paid respects to Mid West families and communities on the two-year anniversary of Cyclone Seroja.

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Martin Aldridge MLC and Member for North West Central
Merome Beard MLA visited Northampton and Kalbarri this week, meeting with community leaders, residents and businesses and reflecting on the two-year recovery process.

“On 11 April 2021, the largest natural disaster in WA’s history, Cyclone Seroja, swept across the Mid West coast, causing widespread damage and destruction across 16 local government areas,” Mr Aldridge said.

“I recognise the recovery journey over the past two-years has been challenging for many, and I’m proud of the determination and resilience shown by impacted communities as they have worked to rebuild their
lives and livelihoods.”

Mr Aldridge said he remained critical of the State Government’s recovery efforts.

“More investment is still needed for projects like local evacuation centres, key worker accommodation and upgraded community infrastructure to return these towns to the vibrant places they once were.”

Mr Aldridge said the anniversary presented an important opportunity for reflection.

“With the frequency and severity of major disasters expected to increase in the coming years, including the imminent cyclone risk in WA’s north, this anniversary provides a time to reflect, reconsider, and reset our approach to recovery going forward.”

Member for North West Central and Shadow Tourism Minister Merome Beard MLA said businesses were
optimistic amidst a busy Easter holiday period and ahead of the solar eclipse, however, many were still struggling with accommodation and workforce shortages.

“Tourism is Kalbarri’s most significant industry and attracts a large seasonal workforce, but damage caused by Cyclone Seroja and the impacts of COVID-19 have resulted in a highly constricted rental market.

“With significant demand for seasonal workers to support the accommodation, hospitality, retail and tourism sectors, there is concern the State Government hasn’t done enough to fast-track key worker accommodation needed to house these staff.”

Ms Beard said the Kalbarri community was also eager to redevelop the foreshore and build back better
following Cyclone Seroja.

“The Shire of Northampton has worked with the Mid West Development Commission and Tourism WA to develop plans to revitalise the Kalbarri foreshore after it was badly damaged.

“Sadly, the State Government has yet to commit the funds needed to make this plan a reality,” Ms Beard said.