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  • Writer's pictureNerida Kickett

From the RDA Pilbara Chair - May 2024

It’s certainly been a very busy month for development in the Pilbara, with a range of events, openings and launches reflecting just how much is happening in our region.

We’ve had the unveiling of Camco Engineering’s new state-of-the-art facility in Karratha and the launch of the new trades workshops at North Regional TAFE's Pundulmurra campus.

The West End Seafood Shack has come to life as the latest pop-up dining option at Marapikurrinya Park in Port Hedland, while RDA Pilbara was delighted to support the opening of the Buwarri Hub by the Mayaarrinyjbangu Aboriginal Corporation (complete with a stunning welcome mural!).

We were also thrilled to officially launch the Designated Area Migration Agreement in Newman alongside the Shire of East Pilbara and the Newman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

And it was very exciting to see businesses with strong presences in the Pilbara – Camco, MundaMurra and Monadelphous – recognised as winners at Rio Tinto’s Supplier Recognition Awards night.

All of this highlights how wide-ranging a task the development of our region is in both its opportunities and challenges.

It involves supporting industries as they advance and evolve but also ensuring community organisations have the resources needed to service diverse and vital needs.

Training and employment opportunities for local people are essential but we must also be prepared to look outside our region to address critical skills gaps.

While it is important that we take time to celebrate Pilbara success, we also can’t lose sight of the fact our region has a great deal of potential that remains untapped (and sometimes unrecognised).

Drawing the attention of key stakeholders – including the Federal and State Governments - to the things that can be done to make our great region even greater is a core part of our work at Regional Development Australia Pilbara.

Recent research we commissioned around the origin points of people flying into the Pilbara is an example of this.

At one level it’s simply fascinating data from a human-interest perspective. More than 450 people from outside WA fly into our region daily, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane among the top-five origin points for people landing in Port Hedland.

Yet, it’s also extremely useful information when it comes to future decisions about which cities elsewhere in Australia (and perhaps even overseas) might be connected to the Pilbara by direct flights.

It is essential that investment in the Pilbara aligns with the needs of our communities and their social progress and wellbeing. This includes the availability of affordable housing and the general liveability of our towns and cities.

RDA Pilbara is strongly committed to supporting the Pilbara to thrive, not just as an economic powerhouse but as a fair and inclusive region for all people who make up our communities.

I look forward to updating you on the work we are doing in this area in the months ahead.

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