North West Telegraph - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr and Ali­cia Per­era RE­PORT PAGE 5

Calls for politi­cians to re­new fo­cus on es­tab­lish­ing a ma­jor city in the North West, po­ten­tially in Port Hed­land, have re­ceived the back­ing of two prom­i­nent West Aus­tralians.

Speak­ing on Seven’s new panel show Flash­point last week, for­mer for­eign af­fairs min­is­ter Julie Bishop and WA builder Dale Al­cock voiced sup­port for the idea of cre­at­ing a North West city to bet­ter show­case WA to key trad­ing part­ners to the north.

Town of Port Hed­land com­mis­sioner Fred Riebel­ing said Port Hed­land would be a good can­di­date as a ma­jor cen­tre of re­sources ac­tiv­ity and had a host of de­vel­op­ment plans in the pipeline.

Two prom­i­nent West Aus­tralians have called on politi­cians to re­new fo­cus on build­ing a ma­jor city in the North West.

Speak­ing to Seven’s new panel show Flash­point last Mon­day night, for­mer for­eign min­is­ter Julie Bishop said a city closer to key trad­ing part­ners would help show­case WA.

“Perth is one of the most live­able ci­ties on the planet, but wouldn’t it be great if we had large pop­u­la­tion cen­tres else­where in our State?” she said.

“For ex­am­ple, up north, so we could have a world-class city close to our South-East Asian neigh­bours.

“It would be a mag­nif­i­cent op­por­tu­nity to show­case our en­tire State.”

WA builder Dale Al­cock voiced his sup­port for the idea.

He said Kar­ratha would be the best choice to es­tab­lish a ma­jor North West city.

“One of the things I think needs to change is our re­liance on fly-in, fly-out to get pop­u­la­tion sta­ble in these ar­eas,” he said.

“I don’t think that is some­thing the State (Gov­ern­ment) alone can deal with.

“I think it needs Fed­eral as­sis­tance with that to pro­vide tax in­cen­tives and so-forth for young fam­i­lies to es­tab­lish them­selves there.”

Premier Mark McGowan said pol­i­cy­mak­ers needed to fo­cus on jobs be­fore try­ing to boost pop­u­la­tion.

“They are ter­rific com­mu­ni­ties — Kar­ratha, Hed­land, Broome, Ku­nunurra, Carnar­von and Ger­ald­ton,” he said.

“They are not as big as the Queens­land coastal ci­ties, but on the other hand it is great they are sub­stan­tial towns now.

“You have to al­ways make sure you have the jobs avail­able for peo­ple to live there. You can’t say ‘let’s make it 100,000 peo­ple’ with­out hav­ing the jobs avail­able.”

Town of Port Hed­land com­mis­sioner Fred Riebel­ing said Port Hed­land and Kar­ratha were the two “ob­vi­ous choices” for a ma­jor city as the North West’s most sig­nif­i­cant pop­u­la­tion cen­tres.

“Port Hed­land is the largest ex­port port in the world and that at­tracts a de­gree of in­ter­est and ca­pac­ity to ex­pand, plus all of the in­land mines that are look­ing at be­ing de­vel­oped of­fer a huge op­por­tu­nity for Hed­land to grow,” he said.

“The Town of Port Hed­land has also just an­nounced a num­ber of de­vel­op­ment plans for our sport­ing ar­eas to cope with ex­tra de­mand and I’m hop­ing that gov­ern­ment, with an eye to the fu­ture, will in­vest in those as well; plus we also have very good cor­po­rate cit­i­zens in FMG, BHP and co and they play a sig­nif­i­cant role in any­thing that hap­pens up here.”

“Kar­ratha seems to have a lot more in­fra­struc­ture than Hed­land, but with the plans we’ve de­vel­oped in the last few weeks that will change and I think Hed­land even­tu­ally will be the largest pop­u­la­tion cen­tre.”

Pil­bara MLA Kevin Michel said the Pil­bara was a won­der­ful place to live and work in and was a huge con­trib­u­tor to the WA econ­omy through a range of in­dus­tries.

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