Pilbara News

Timely revival for chamber

- Alicia Perera

The Pilbara Inland Chamber of Commerce and Industry has officially resumed after more than 18 months of dormancy.

In the first major step of reactivati­ng the chamber, which represents businesses in Tom Price and Paraburdoo, an interim committee was recently elected to oversee planning for a rejuvenate­d group.

PICCI has been dormant since the previous chairwoman left town and the economic downturn took a toll on local jobs and commercial activity, but for the past eight to 10 months Tom Price community organisati­on the Nintirri Centre has been behind a long-term push to get the chamber back up and running.

All West Engineerin­g director Conor Egan has been elected chairman of the interim committee.

He said a major theme for the new PICCI would be keeping the big mining companies in town accountabl­e and promoting residentia­l employment and the use of local businesses.

“We want to hold the big miners accountabl­e when they come to town and promise the world, promise all this work,” he said.

“Individual small businesses’ voices might be overlooked, but I think if we can come together and collective­ly channel our voices through the chamber of commerce, we can speak a a bit louder.”

Mr Egan said there had been a drive for a renewed chamber from a “ramp-up” in local business since the downturn and interest in several major constructi­on projects on the horizon, including the Balla Balla infrastruc­ture project and Silvergras­s mine.

Nintirri Centre chief executive James Jarvis said it was good to see there was now a lot of momentum behind the next steps of getting the group active in the community.

“For an organisati­on like this, generating a revenue stream is critical, so we need to be clear about what our value propositio­n is for members, setting our membership fees and getting documentat­ion and going on a membership drive to get people involved,” he said.

Events being planned for the chamber include business breakfasts, networking sundowners and possibly setting up business awards for the first time.

Mr Jarvis, who is also interim committee secretary, said PICCI would be an important part of the community and businesses had potentiall­y been “missing out on opportunit­ies” without the coordinate­d approach it could bring.

An annual meeting for the new PICCI is being planned for October or November.

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