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  • RDA Pilbara

Our newest hospitality hot spot, power boost for the Pilbara and a pointer to life on Mars

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

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 August 25 to September 1.

Hedland’s new hospitality hot spot now officially open

The Pilbara’s newest venue of choice was officially declared open this week – with the unveiling of Rays at the Hedland Hotel.

The multi-million dollar redevelopment brings a fresh Palm Springs-style theme, three new bars, eight separate seating spaces and a Southern Californian food menu, and the crowd on hand on Wednesday night certainly enjoyed the fresh new setting.

It was great to see Rita Saffioti cutting the tape as part of ceremonies and hopefully this week’s event is just the start of a very busy time for the team at Hedland Hotel.

RDA Pilbara CEO Tony Simpson enjoyed his first look at Rays and also took the opportunity to catch up with new Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Rebekah Worthington.

Pilbara to benefit from big power investment The announcement might have taken place in Perth but it was very clear this week that the Pilbara would be a significant beneficiary of the investment of $3 billion of Federal Government funds in upgrades of WA’s electricity infrastructure.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who visited the Pilbara for a tour of Rio Tinto operations over the weekend, made the announcement alongside WA Premier Roger Cook, with the funds to be made available by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

A key focus will be making the electricity system of the Pilbara more efficient and more connected, with an increasing role forecast for renewables.

This week’s developments follow the landmark agreement in early August from the Pilbara Industry Roundtable, aimed at decarbonising electricity generation across our region.

Important new regional grants now open A couple of newly available grants that may well appeal to Pilbara organisations.

The first is the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)'s Regional Microgrids Program. The program, which supports the development and deployment of renewable energy microgrids across Australia, makes funding available under two streams: ▪ regional Australia microgrids ▪ First Nations community microgrids Webinars about the program and funding will be held on September 6 and September 14. For more information, including how to apply, visit:

The 2023 Innovate With nbn Australia Grants Program is also now open - and it's a great opportunity for Pilbara businesses to turn their great ideas into game-changing achievements. Run in partnership with the Regional Australia Institute, the program aims to lift the digital capability of people and businesses in regional Australia. Funding for regional and remote businesses will be spread across seven categories - agriculture, arts, education, health, Indigenous business, tourism, and women in regional business – and each winner will receive $15,000. The overall Innovate with nbn Champion will be awarded an additional $20,000 grant to help take their idea to the next level. Learn more and apply at: Applications close September 29.

RDA Pilbara Grants Hub is now open A reminder that RDA Pilbara’s Grants Hub is now open and ready to act as a one-stop shop for all local businesses, community groups, not-for-profits and individuals who are considering applying for a grant.

You can see what grants are available, register to receive alerts when new opportunities arise and access tips to help you apply for grants.

The Hub is live and ready to go, so please visit it here:

NASA details its giant leap into the Pilbara

You might recall a couple of months back we touched on the visit of NASA researchers to the Pilbara, for an expedition they hoped would help unlock some of the secrets of Mars.

It was excellent this week to see a few more details of that research published by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

It’s really exciting to know our region is seen as the "perfect classroom" for researchers to study ancient stromatolites that have withstood the test of time, and understand a little better what they might be looking for in the search for signs of previous life on Mars.

Pilbara Summit just around the corner We’re now less than six weeks away from the Pilbara Summit – an event that’s not only of significance to WA and Australia but which is increasingly taking on international importance.

There are some fantastic speakers and sessions over the two days of the summit, so don’t forget to book your pass.

Events like these help showcase to the world how vital minerals and energy produced in the Pilbara are to the wider world. It’s also a great forum to highlight the region’s growing opportunities (and capabilities) in downstream processing.

More details:

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