Cul­ture key to growth

Pilbara News - - Pilbara | Economic Development Conference 2017 - Jenne Bram­mer

The Pil­bara is rich in tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties, but would ben­e­fit from a softer image and greater recognition of indige­nous arts and cul­ture, ac­cord­ing to speak­ers at Tues­day’s Pil­bara Economic De­vel­op­ment Con­fer­ence.

Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try WA chief econ­o­mist Rick Newn­ham said the Pil­bara re­ceived about 700,000 vis­i­tors an­nu­ally, equat­ing to about $452 mil­lion in tourism spend, of which $363 mil­lion was re­tained within the lo­cal econ­omy.

He said there was plenty of room for growth, which would amount to the cre­ation of many thou­sands of lo­cal jobs in the next decade.

“A key at­trac­tion is the re­mote­ness of the re­gion. Indige­nous cul­ture is also play­ing a ma­jor role in at­tract­ing vis­i­tors,” Mr Newn­ham said.

Indige­nous Art Code chief ex­ec­u­tive Gabrielle Sul­li­van said the Pil­bara’s cul­ture and arts of­fered strong em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly for older peo­ple who had be­come artists, and younger peo­ple in sup­port roles.

“The con­tri­bu­tion of se­niors in arts and cul­ture in the Pil­bara is enor­mous; a lot of emerg­ing artists are al­ready quite old when they start painting, es­pe­cially in the desert,” she said.

“There are se­niors who are very gen­er­ous in pro­mot­ing cul­ture, and shar­ing that, de­liv­er­ing work­shops and artists talks across the coun­try,” she said.

“Mean­while, the arts cen­tres and cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tions like Kanyirn­inpa Jukur­rpa, Spinifex Hill Stu­dios, Ju­luwarlu and many oth­ers are em­ploy­ing young peo­ple who have lim­ited em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties oth­er­wise.

“Fa­cil­i­tat­ing roles that value Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture is es­sen­tial in pro­vid­ing long-term mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

The as­so­ci­ated tourism also pre­sented op­por­tu­ni­ties, but to truly thrive would rely on a bet­ter pro­file and cul­tur­ally rel­e­vant train­ing and in­vest­ment for the Pil­bara’s ta­lent in arts and cul­ture, she said.

She said the Pil­bara was of­ten un­der­es­ti­mated in terms of its con­tri­bu­tion to Aus­tralian arts and cul­ture.

Pic­ture: Mar­tu­mili Artists

Sib­lings Tamisha and Cor­ban Wil­liams in the Mar­tu­mili Artists gallery, Newman, sort­ing through art­works for the up­com­ing Desert Mob art mar­ket.

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