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A DAMA milestone, the Federal Budget and first ore for Onslow

RDA Pilbara regularly compiles a wrap of news that's important to industries and communities in the region and also the highlights of our activities on the ground.         


Read on for what's been happening from May 10 to May 24. 


Pilbara DAMA notches a century 

The past couple of weeks have brought a milestone we’re very proud of at RDA Pilbara – with the 100th endorsed application from a business for our region’s Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA). 


As we outlined in a previous blog, the DAMA has been delivering positive outcomes for Pilbara businesses and communities since it was launched in early 2022. 


There are now 135 occupations on the priority list and more than 630 people have been endorsed for roles that address some of the most sorely needed and in-demand skills in the Pilbara. 


To get to the century in business endorsements in such a short space of time speaks volumes to the successful outcomes the DAMA has delivered to date. 


As RDA Pilbara CEO Tony Simpson said: "This milestone demonstrates our dedication to supporting local businesses and addressing skill shortages in the region. We look forward to welcoming these skilled workers and witnessing their positive impact on our community." 


With recent expansion into the Shire of East Pilbara and interest growing in the scheme all the time, we look forward to celebrating more DAMA milestones in the future. 


Learn more about the DAMA:  


How the Federal Budget played out for the Pilbara 

A highly-anticipated Federal Budget was handed down by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on May 14 and, as always, the Budget statements made for some hefty reading! 


From a Pilbara perspective, it was pleasing to see the Budget outline a range of commitments that should deliver positive outcomes for our communities and industries, including: 


  • A $300 energy rebate for households, along with a $325 rebate for small businesses 

  • $6.2 billion for housing initiatives, including a new five‑year National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness with states and territories 

  • $2.4 billion over five years to create new opportunities and achieve better outcomes for First Nations people, in priority areas such as jobs, health, education, justice, housing and other essential infrastructure and services 

  • $6.8 million towards a decommissioning roadmap for offshore infrastructure 

  • $8 billion for a new Hydrogen Production Tax Incentive, alongside $17.1 million to progress the National Hydrogen Strategy 

  • $7 billion for a Critical Minerals Production Tax Incentive, accompanied by $100 million for a Critical Minerals National Productivity Initiative 

  • More than $1 billion towards mineral exploration initiatives 

  • Establishment of a new Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program to create up to 3000 jobs in remote Australia  

  • Investment in energy transition initiatives, including $134.2 million to better prioritise approvals for renewable energy projects of national significance 

  • $519.1 million over eight years from 2024–25 from the Future Drought Fund for initiatives that provide improved support to farmers and communities to manage drought and adapt to climate change 

  • $148.2 million for community pharmacies in regional, rural and remote communities as they transition business arrangements for 60-day prescriptions 

  • $73.8 million for the Royal Flying Doctor Service to support the continued delivery of essential primary health services to people living in remote communities.   

Combined with the Future Made In Australia program, elements of which were announced pre-Budget, there’s a clear Federal focus on developing new opportunities for industry in regional areas such as the Pilbara.   

RDA Pilbara will continue to advocate at both State and Federal levels to grow liveability in our region and ensure that the benefits of economic activity flow through to all communities. 


Careers and future industry highlighted by KDCCI 

RDA Pilbara had the pleasure over the past fortnight of attending a couple of very well-attended events hosted by the Karratha & Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


One was the KDCCI Careers Expo, which attracted a large and engaged crowd to the Karratha Leisureplex. It was great to see so many people of all ages on site exploring future careers, along with a wide range of businesses - both local and those with Pilbara operations - actively engaging with them. 


The KDCCI also hosted a successful Breakfast Briefing on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). 

CCS is a technology that piques the curiosity of many people. If able to be developed at scale, it could support decarbonisation of Pilbara industries and generate new jobs and economic benefits for communities through the establishment of CCS hubs. 


It was very interesting to hear the observations of an expert panel on CCS and learn more about how it is being developed and used around the world. 

 Onslow Iron Project achieves first ore 

Exciting news out of Onslow this week, with confirmation that Mineral Resources’ Onslow Iron Project had achieved its first ore – and would soon send an inaugural shipment to China. 


The innovative project has resulted in the development of a resource that was considered stranded for more than a decade.  


A 30-year mine life with production of 35 million tonnes a year now looms, creating a range of local procurement and employment opportunities, along with investment in community organisations. 


We look forward to more updates as production continues to ramp up. 



 Jury Art Prize showcases Pilbara talent 

The Jury Art Prize is something we always look forward to on the Pilbara calendar and the 2024 edition hasn’t disappointed. The Pilbara certainly punches above its weight when it comes to artistic excellence! 


A recent opening night at the Courthouse Gallery in Port Hedland celebrated this year’s finalists and, of course, the winners: 


  • The Judges Prize – Naomie Hatherley  

  • Kathy Donnelly Award – Leah Nanala 

  • Patron Award – Paulette Jadzinski 

  • Highly Commended – Jacqueline Craigs 


The finalist works will remain on display until July 19, so please make sure you get down to the gallery, check out the entries and cast your vote in the Jury Prize (people’s choice). 


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