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  • RDA Pilbara

Looking ahead to 2024, HEFF brings businesses together and an AFL dream comes true

Each week RDA Pilbara 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 November 17 to November 24.

Taking stock of 2023 and looking ahead The RDA Pilbara Committee enjoyed the chance to get together this week for a final meeting of 2023 and a look back over what has transpired during the past 12 months.

It was also a chance to welcome and learn more about our two newest committee members in Ryley Heap and Sean-Paul Stephens.


While it’s good to be able to reflect on achievements to date, there’s always a strong forward-facing focus at our committee meetings – as we look ahead to opportunities (and challenges) on the horizon for regional development. That was certainly the case this week and our active and constructive discussions will help inform RDA Pilbara's activities in months to come.


We are very grateful to Daniel Barker and Michael Tonkin from Mineral Resources, who attended one of the meeting sessions and updated us on their company’s projects and community involvement in the Pilbara.



HEFF happenings in Hedland RDA Pilbara CEO Tony Simpson had the pleasure this week of attending the Hedland Economic and Franchise Forum in South Hedland.

HEFF 2023 was a very interesting event that brought together local business, community, and government representatives from across the Pilbara region to hear from a great list of speakers that included Stephen Dawson, Kevin Michel and Terry Hill.

It was another invaluable opportunity for the business community to network, exchange ideas and make connections that will contribute to development across the region. RDA Pilbara was delighted to be one of the merchandise sponsors for HEFF and we’d like to acknowledge the role Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce played in making the event a reality.

Possible DAMA expansion to the Shire of Asbhurton RDA Pilbara is currently in the process of gathering feedback about whether the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) for the Pilbara should extend into the Shire of Ashburton. The current DAMA exists to provide businesses in the City of Karratha and the Town of Port Hedland with a mechanism to address current workforce shortages and to support future workforce planning.

But there may be avenues to expand it further, if the business community in the Shire of Ashburton sees opportunities to address local needs through access to more migrant workers filling a range of occupations.

To that end, we’ve prepared a survey for interested businesses in the Shire of Ashburton, which can be filled out at the following link. Access the survey: https://bit.ly/49IDljQ More about the DAMA (including the current occupation list): https://bit.ly/3G6VCd2

There’s a lot at steak...again! Amidst our celebration of Pilbara wins at the recent WA Tourism Awards it was remiss of us not to highlight some statewide recognition for one of the Pilbara’s hospitality hotspots.

So, congratulations to Daniel Scott and the North West Brewing Co. on being formally recognised as having WA's best steak sandwich (for the second year in a row!). You might remember that the Karratha venue wowed judges (including WA Premier Roger Cook) earlier in the year with a creation from head chef Ats Johanssen that featured smoked Harvey beef, smoked brisket, salsa verde, bacon, jalapenos, cream cheese, and pickles marinated in the brewery’s Pilbara Pale Ale. The team from North West officially celebrated the win recently at a gala event hosted by the Australian Hotels Association WA.


Pilbara continues to emerge as a potential CCUS hub Low-emissions energy and the technology around it is clearly going to have a big role to play in the Pilbara’s future and it was very encouraging to read a recent report released by the CSIRO and Global CCS Institute.

The research focussed on the suitability of the Pilbara as a future carbon capture, utilisation and storage hub, not only for emissions produced locally but for those captured elsewhere in the State. The Pilbara is geologically suitable for CCUS, has existing infrastructure and a workforce that can contribute to the development of a hub and could eventually meet 33 per cent of WA's emissions reduction target. In other words, our region is perfectly placed to be at a centre of development and implementation for a technology that will be essential to WA (and the world) meeting net zero aspirations.

Wickham product drafted into the AFL by Geelong

The thrill of a lifetime arrived this week for Wickham Wolves product Lawson Humphries, when he was drafted by AFL club Geelong.

Humphries, who completed his schooling in Perth at Hale School and has been playing in the WAFL with Swan Districts, was taken by the Cats with the second-last pick of the draft, No. 63.

As Lawson’s father Ross Humphries explained to ABC Pilbara, it was a proud moment:

“The AFL is such a competitive environment and I said to him, talent alone is not enough, you've also got to put in the hard work and you’ve got to get the opportunity, so I think he's embraced the hard work and Geelong footy club have given him the opportunity.”

The below video from Swan Districts, showing the moment when Lawson discovered his selection, sums up the joy of a dream come true.


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