Board gets hands dirty in Pil­bara

Pilbara News - - News - Court­ney Fowler

■ Mem­bers of the Western Aus­tralian Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Trust got up close to ma­jor in­dus­try by land and sea, dis­cov­ered an­cient rock art and met with lo­cal civic and busi­ness lead­ers dur­ing their three-day visit to the Pil­bara last month.

Ad­vis­ing the Min­is­ter for Re­gional De­vel­op­ment on the Roy­al­ties for Re­gions fund, the Trust pro­vides im­par­tial ad­vice and rec­om­men­da­tions on the al­lo­ca­tion of fund­ing across the state.

Vis­it­ing the Pil­bara for their bi­monthly Board meet­ing, the Trust took the op­por­tu­nity to get a first­hand look at the na­tion’s eco­nomic pow­er­house.

Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Terry Hill said host­ing board meet­ings in the re­gions was an im­por­tant mech­a­nism for the Trust to as­sess the out­comes of pre­vi­ous fund­ing, and also con­sider fu­ture fund­ing needs.

“For the Pil­bara it was an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity to high­light the eco­nomic diver­si­fi­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties on the hori­zon for the re­gion,” he said.

“Trust mem­bers were im­pressed by the tourism ex­pe­ri­ences we sched­uled, and that was only a taste of the in­dus­trial, na­ture­based and cul­tural tourism as­sets the Pil­bara has to of­fer.

“They also toured the un­der-con­struc­tion am­mo­nia ni­trate plant in Kar­ratha, which is a great ex­am­ple of value-adding to an ex­ist­ing in­dus­try that takes ad­van­tage of the re­gion’s world-class ex­port in­fra­struc­ture.”

Mr Hill said on their visit, board mem­bers had the op­por­tu­nity to meet with busi­ness own­ers and gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the chal­lenges they face and op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness growth.

“A din­ner was held for key stake­hold­ers where we heard their views on how they think fund­ing should be pri­ori­tised and what projects would be the most trans­for­ma­tional for the re­gion,” he said.

“The key themes and projects dis­cussed around the ta­ble aligned re­ally well with the Pil­bara Blue­print, which shows the frame­work re­flects the pri­or­i­ties of the re­gion.”

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Trust chair Sue Mid­dle­ton said vis­it­ing key projects and meet­ing stake­hold­ers greatly as­sisted the Trust’s un­der­stand­ing of what are key im­por­tant in­vest­ments go­ing for­ward.

Ms Mid­dle­ton said she be­lieved the Roy­al­ties for Re­gions pro­gram was hav­ing a trans­for­ma­tional im­pact on the re­gion.

“The Trust pos­i­tively re­flected on the blue­print’s role in defin­ing the in­vest­ments for the re­gion,” she said.

“The Trust’s key re­flec­tion is that the in­vest­ment needs to con­tinue and move even more strongly into driv­ing eco­nomic growth ar­eas for the re­gion.”

The Pil­bara Re­gional In­vest­ment Blue­print draft is avail­able at www.pdc.wa.gov.au.

Pic­ture: Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion

Tim Shana­han, Sue Mid­dle­ton, Stu­art Hicks, Rob Stevens and David Hegerty at the Yara Pil­bara Plant as part of the re­cent Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Trust tour.

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