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The end of the mining construction boom should be the death knell for fly-in, fly-out work camps in WA's north, according to Pilbara MP and former Nationals leader Brendon Grylls.
He nominated looming lease expirations for Woodside's Gap Ridge camp outside Karratha and BHP Billiton's Kurra Village outside of Newman as "the biggest issue in the Pilbara" and vowed to fight their renewal.
Mr Grylls made the remarks at the end of the "gap year" Premier Colin Barnett wanted him to have before resuming his ministerial career.
The former regional development minister said he was "not available for selection at the moment" but suggested the FIFO issue had fired his resolve to contest the 2017 election seeking a fifth term in politics.
"Certainly, I look forward to taking policies to the next election that look like we are trying to build a Karratha city of 50,000 - we've got 25,000 now - and you don't increase the residential population of the city by constantly approving extended leases on camps," he said.
Mr Grylls said there had been a need for the Gap Ridge camp when Woodside's Pluto LNG project was being built - but not to house an operational workforce.
"Companies have run out of reasons for a FIFO workforce," he said. "There's an opportunity for the Pilbara to almost cash in on the cycle and that is with the construction phase coming to an end, for more and more of the workforce to transition into normal residential arrangements."
Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA deputy chief executive Nicole Roocke said companies that identified the need for FIFO villages should have their leases renewed, citing flexibility for employees and workers.
The chamber predicts WA's FIFO workforce will decrease by 10,400 workers by 2020. But the proportion of the operational workforce doing FIFO will increase 3 per cent to 63 per cent.
Lands Minister Terry Redman said he would decide in the first half of this year on Gap Ridge.