Access to Kalbarri restored as Seroja response continues
Restricted access permits will no longer be required to enter Kalbarri from this evening with the two main roads into Kalbarri open for the first time since the crossing of Tropical Cyclone Seroja.
Vehicle control points will be removed at Ajana-Kalbarri Road and George Grey Drive/Red Bluff Road at 6pm, bringing an end to a three-week period during which access to the town was restricted to local residents and critical service staff.
Emergency services personnel, supported by a range of government agencies and private contractors, have worked round the clock to make the area safe since Seroja made landfall on Sunday 11 April.
State Emergency Service volunteers led the immediate response effort and have responded to hundreds of requests for assistance, with the last request expected to be completed today.
The response operation can now be managed at a local level and the transition to the recovery phase is progressing.
After close consultation with the Shire of Northampton, other government agencies and the local community, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has determined now is an appropriate time to remove the vehicle control points.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said the restoration of access into Kalbarri was a positive step forward but the broader public needed to respect that the local community was still recovering.
“Kalbarri has experienced a once-in-a-generation event and anyone thinking of visiting the town should be mindful of both the physical and psychological impacts Tropical Cyclone Seroja has had on the local community,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“Many will still be processing what has happened and visitors need to be respectful of what locals have endured in the past three weeks.”
Commissioner Klemm added there would be a reduced capacity to cater for tourists, given the extensive damage to both residential and commercial buildings.
“A large percentage of the town’s tourist accommodation needs significant repair or to be rebuilt,” he said.
“Anyone planning to visit Kalbarri should consult tourism operators and accommodation providers prior to their departure.
“No one should visit Kalbarri without prior confirmation of their accommodation arrangements and we also recommend that people do not visit simply to inspect the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Seroja.
“It is critically important that as visitors return to Kalbarri and surrounds, they do so in a safe and sensible manner – we do not want further pressure placed on local emergency services after an extremely busy period.”
DFES will continue to maintain a strong presence in the Midwest-Gascoyne while the region recovers from the impacts of Seroja.
Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543.