Board gets hands dirty in Pilbara
■ 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.
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.