10 May 2023

Rio Tinto unveils housing strategy for Weipa

| Matt Nicholls
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WEIPA residents will be given the chance to buy adjoining vacant land to their properties as Rio Tinto looks to relieve pressure on the town’s housing situation.

The land-buy scheme is one of several initiatives released by the mining company as part of its long-awaited housing strategy.

Rio Tinto Weipa general manager Shona Markham said the plan would not solve all of the town’s housing problems but was part of a long-term plan.

“We recognise this is just a start, but we are committed to using these early initiatives as a base for further improvements,” she said.

Rio Tinto will start building three new houses this year and will also sell lots of land in the Golf Links Estate.

The lots will be released in a staged manner, with an initial auction campaign of five lots to the open market in October.

Rio Tinto will also look to sell two of its vacant homes.

A silent auction will run for employees to purchase them.

“These initiatives will give us the opportunity to work towards long-term outcomes and gain insight on how that plan should look,” Ms Markham said.

The company is also starting a major maintenance program.

“In recent times, Rio Tinto has met with stakeholders on site in Weipa to discuss improvements to housing and land quality and availability, with work on this now under way,” a company spokesperson said.

“The main goal is to improve current properties but the initiatives are also intended to give the community more opportunity to invest in local property.

“Under the plans, work will continue to focus on improving current housing, with current tenants in Rio Tinto housing asked to come forward with their requests.”

The company said it had also implemented a residential and commercial land enquiries form to provide more specific information around what space is required for sustainable business growth.


LANDOWNERS in Weipa who have a vacant block or an easement next to their property could be able to purchase the land and amalgamate it with their residential lot.

Residents can fill out a form with the Weipa Town Authority, which will review the application and make a recommendation to Rio Tinto.

Ms Markham said all options were being considered to relieve pressure on the housing market in Weipa. Rio Tinto has added 36 rooms to the SPQ in Evans Landing, which should soon be available for workers.

“The main thing about this strategy is that it’s achievable,” she told Cape York Weekly.

“If you look at how hard it is to build a house in south-east Queensland right now you know that doing anything substantial here in a short time is going to be difficult.

“We’re working with our partners around other developments and it’s important to recognise that it’s not just Rio Tinto that’s looking at building houses.

“The announcements may seem small at the moment but it’s something we want to build on and most parts of the initiative can be acted upon quite quickly.”

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