The Commission is a progressive, strategically focused agency that plays a key role in the social and economic development of the Pilbara.

A message from the Chair

What a rewarding year it has been. Confidence is strong in the region, among businesses and communities.
It is hard to find a Pilbara resident who is not passionate about ensuring this region remains a great place to work, do business, invest and raise a family into the long term, and I am glad to say this sentiment is held strongly by the staff and Board of the Commission.

There is much to be excited about, with more than $100 billion worth of new resources projects committed or planned in the Pilbara over the next decade. Many of these projects will be under construction within the next five years and there is broad recognition throughout the Pilbara of the need to ensure that their economic benefits are spread as widely as possible across all the region's communities and that disruptive influences associated with the last boom are better managed.

As such, the Commission is undertaking a project to identify the potential impacts on our communities that will arise from the implementation of these projects. This critical piece of work includes fine-grained analysis of population growth, demographic trends and future service needs that will be important in informing all agencies and levels of government, as well as non-government organisations and private companies in planning for the region.

The need for residential, rather than fly-in-fly-out, operational workforces, when feasible, has been widely accepted. Many companies are now committing to establishing residential workforces, or to drive-in drive-out where practical

Large resources projects are continuing to commit to local content and improving the capacity of local businesses, including Aboriginal-owned enterprise.

Meanwhile, the Commission is highly focused on diversifying the Pilbara economy through supporting medium and small enterprises to grow and by working to ensure our communities are vibrant, attractive places to live long-term. To name just a few of the activities undertaken in 2018-19 by the Commission to drive diversification:

  • Leading, facilitating and delivering the first round of the State Government's Regional Economic Development grants program, to create new jobs in industries ranging from tourism to manufacturing, waste management and renewable energies.
  • Working with Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation and other project partners to redevelop the Victoria Hotel in Roebourne as a cultural centre.
  • Establishing an Innovation Network across the Pilbara, through completion of Port Hedland's The WEB, the Karratha Enterprise Hub and The Edge in Newman. These three hubs will help to diversify the regional economy through providing business services and co-working spaces to new and growing businesses.
  • Securing $70 million in State Government funding and commencing detailed design work on the Spoilbank Marina in Port Hedland.
  • By creating a business case, helping to secure $1.33 million in State Government funds to progress planning for the Murujuga Living Knowledge Centre and Tourism Precinct on the Burrup Peninsula.
  • Securing $1.5 million for the Jiji Project in a transformational partnership with Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) that will provide speech and occupational therapy to improve education and health outcomes for Martu children in communities in the Western Desert.

The Commission has been busy in many other areas during the year. I particularly want to acknowledge the care and professionalism that Commission staff continue to demonstrate in their consultation with residents of Pilbara Town Based Reserves as part of the project to improve their economic and social wellbeing in collaboration with the traditional owners of the reserve lands, other government agencies and community partners.

While the Commission's focus continues to be outwards on the Pilbara, 2018-19 also saw continued settling-in of new systems as a result of Machinery of Government changes that occurred in 2017-18. For a second year, I wish to thank Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill for his advocacy on behalf of the Pilbara region, the Commission and regional development in general.

I also wish to acknowledge and thank the Minister for Regional Development Hon. Alannah MacTiernan, MLC, for her leadership and support for the Pilbara, to which she is a frequent visitor, and her interest in, and continued hard work for regional Western Australia.

During 2018-19, we experienced considerable change on the Commission's Board with Dr Alan Eggleston's term expiring in October; Cr Jeton Ahmedi's resignation in November; and the expiration of Cr Julie Arif's and Cr Gerry Parson's terms. Meanwhile, Mr Chris Cottier's term was extended to December 2019. Many thanks to all the Board members, both departed and continuing, for their excellent contributions and advice during the year.

As we look forward to 2019-20, I am excited for the Pilbara and the Commission's role as an active agent in its future. Collaboration with others, both within and outside the region, will continue to be our focus as we seek to achieve our overarching value of excellence in both how the Commission operates and in what we help to deliver.

Brendan Hammond,

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