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  • RDA Pilbara

Breaking down the Budget, busy times in the Pilbara and Top Tourism Towns

Updated: 3 days ago

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 April 26 to May 10.


State Budget funding for the Pilbara 

The State Budget is always much anticipated in terms of the funding commitments it unveils for regional areas such as the Pilbara. 


RDA Pilbara CEO Tony Simpson had the opportunity to attend a breakfast hosted by the Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where Minister for Minister Paul Papalia provided insights into Budget priorities and focusses.  


A $3.2 billion surplus that underpins the 2024-25 Budget has been largely driven by resources projects in the Pilbara and it’s pleasing to see investment flowing back into our communities. 

Notable Budget commitments this week included:  

  • Funding to advance the Maitland Strategic Industrial Area, as part of a $500 million Strategic Industries Fund. 

  • $148 million to support the development of transmission network infrastructure in the North West Interconnected System in the Pilbara 

  • A $400 electricity credit for all WA housholders, with further energy bill assistance available to around 330,000 eligible households - including pensioners, veterans and Health Care Card holders 

  • $64.3 million to boost water security in the Pilbara, including an additional $25.2 million for the Onslow Desalination Plant. 

  • Fortescue Marsh Nature Reserve to share in $58.3 million to facilitate implementation of Indigenous Land Use Agreements and joint management activities with Traditional Owners. 

  • $60 million for a Regional Community Housing Grants Program, to support community housing providers to deliver new dwellings or refurbish existing dwellings. 

There were several Pilbara-related commitments announced before the Budget, including $6.5 million towards stage two of the Onslow Marina Community Boating Precinct and funding for new lots and early delivery of lots at Karratha's Madigan at Baynton West.


Region airfare scheme extended, positive health news for the Pilbara 

Two pre-Budget announcements, in particular, are likely to have been well-received by Pilbara communities. 

Hedland Health Campus will receive a new $15 million MRI machine, while $2.3 million has been allocated for a four-chair dialysis unit at Karratha Health Campus. (read the full announcement: ) 

Access to essential health services is a priority for Pilbara communities and an issue that RDA Pilbara has strongly advocated on in the past and will continue to advance in the future. 

Meanwhile, a commitment to extend the Regional Airfare Zone Cap Scheme until the end of 2025 is also likely to be popular in the Pilbara (read the full announcement: ).  

Affordable air travel in and out of our region is vital for our communities and residents of the Pilbara have been among the major users of the scheme since it was introduced in 2022.


In fact, nearly half of all flights undertaken under the scheme to date have involved Karratha, Port Hedland, Paraburdoo and Newman. 

RDA engagements around the Pilbara 

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the RDA Pilbara team and CEO Tony Simpson. 

Included on the agenda were a visit to Port Hedland for a very insightful PHCCI Men In Business Luncheon, with special guests Minister Stephen Dawson and Nathan Dawson from Proteus Leadership (the theme was Embracing Innovation in Your Business). 

Tony was back in Hedland this week for a Port Hedland Industries Council Community Industry Forum that featured (among other topics) discussions and updates on the economic impact of the Port of Port Hedland, the Hedland Well Women's Centre and the town’s housing situation. 

Tony was also very pleased to add his signature to the Yandi Leadership Table MOU in Roebourne.  

Pilbara towns in the running for top tourism awards 

It’s fantastic to see three of our region’s towns in the running for the WA Top Tourism Town Awards. 

Newman is a finalist for Top Tourism Town, while Tom Price has been shortlisted for best Small Tourism Town. Meanwhile, Marble Bar is hoping to be recognised in the Tiny Tourism Town category. 

Cast your vote in each category HERE by 5pm on Wednesday May 22. You can also view the videos that went with each town’s nomination below. 


Good luck to all involved! 

Calling on young people with big ideas! 

The Australian Government’s Youth Steering Committee is looking for applicants between 12 and 25 to fill seven vacancies across two-year terms. 


The Youth Steering Committee is working with the Office for Youth on the Australian Government’s new strategy Engage! A strategy to include young people in the decisions we make

The Committee also advises the Australian Government about policies and programs for young people. 

Previous experience isn’t necessary and members get training and professional development to help them feel comfortable and confident participating in meetings. 

Visit the website for more details and to apply:  

Where do fly-in visitors to the Pilbara come from? 

Another reminder about the very interesting research into fly-in visitors that RDA Pilbara commissioned from Ailevon Aviation Consulting – and which is available on this website


The study tracks likely origin points for the 8500 fly-in visitors that the Pilbara receives each day from outside the region.  


It’s where those people reside that is particularly fascinating.  


Would you have guessed that Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are among the top-five origin points for people flying into Port Hedland?  


Or that as many visitors from each of Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane fly into Paraburdoo as do residents of Busselton?  


Better understanding of where people flying into the Pilbara come from could lead to better connectivity of flights with the rest of Australia and perhaps also destinations overseas. 


Check out the full study at: 


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