Fo­cus still on the re­gion

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

La­bor’s new Pil­bara MLA Kevin Michel has vowed to keep the spot­light his pre­de­ces­sor shone on the re­gion burn­ing bright.

Un­der Bren­don Grylls and the Lib­eral/Na­tional al­liance mil­lions of dol­lars were pumped into the Pil­bara through Roy­al­ties for Re­gions.

Kar­ratha’s city cen­tre was trans­formed beyond recog­ni­tion, Dampier got a com­mu­nity hub, and Roe­bourne will have the Vic­to­ria Ho­tel. Port Hed­land got a new sta­dium and works on the Spoil­bank Ma­rina should be­gin soon.

Pools, child­care cen­tres, health cam­puses and youth fa­cil­i­ties have gone up ev­ery­where, while lo­cal clubs and or­gan­i­sa­tions were able to buy new equip­ment and plan pro­jects through smaller com­mu­nity grants.

Key is­sues in the Pil­bara such as fly-in, fly-out work­forces and cost of liv­ing re­ceived con­stant at­ten­tion from Perth thanks to Mr Grylls’ will­ing­ness to speak up.

Mr Michel ac­knowl­edged he was a ju­nior mem­ber in the new Gov­ern­ment, but said sup­port from the com­mu­nity would help him grow into the role.

“(Mr Grylls) has done quite a bit for the Pil­bara and I do have big shoes to fill, but with sup­port of my col­leagues in the po­lit­i­cal arena and com­mu­nity it is pos­si­ble,” he said.

Mr Michel said lo­cal jobs would be his first pri­or­ity.

“We have got a fan­tas­tic leader who is young, en­er­getic and on the same wave­length with all MPs who are push­ing to make sure jobs are kept in WA,” he said.

“I think we will re­ally bring bring the Pil­bara back to what it used to be and I will prove to peo­ple you don’t need an­other min­ing boom to do this.

“You just need lo­cal and State gov­ern­ment pro­jects go­ing to lo­cal peo­ple and min­ing com­pa­nies look­ing after lo­cals.” Work­ing in Mr Michel’s favour is the fact he won’t be alone.

Stephen Daw­son has been a strong voice for the Pil­bara in op­po­si­tion and has now been handed the en­vi­ron­ment and child pro­tec­tion port­fo­lios in Mark McGowan’s cabi­net.

Ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paigner Alan­nah MacTier­nan will also be in his cor­ner after be­ing awarded the role of Re­gional Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter.

Ms MacTier­nan knows the North West well, hav­ing spent time up here dur­ing her time in Fed­eral pol­i­tics and as a min­is­ter for plan­ning and in­fra­struc­ture with the pre­vi­ous State La­bor gov­ern­ment.

Pic­ture: Nic El­lis

New mem­ber for the Pil­bara Kevin Michel.

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