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The Board of the Pilbara Development Commission has a new leader in agricultural entrepreneur Mr Chris Gilmour who was appointed as Chairman by the Minister for Regional Development in October. Mr Gilmour has spent his first two months in the role touring the Pilbara and preparing to Chair his first Board meeting in Perth on December 10.
Appointed for an initial term of three years, Mr Gilmour has been tasked with spearheading the strategic direction of the Commission as the agency continues to drive the growth and development of the Pilbara.
Mr Gilmour brings a wealth of experience in regional development and previously has held director roles at the Great Southern Development Commission, Rural Business Development Corporation as well as a number of private agricultural technology businesses.
Growing up on a farm in the state’s South West, Mr Gilmour said the region’s biggest diversification opportunities included access to land and water.
“I have a deep respect for the land and the potential prosperity that can result from the establishment of sustainable agricultural practices,” Mr Gilmour said.
“Minerals, although a significant wealth generator, are a finite resource whereas the establishment of agriculture and aquaculture could bring long term investment, jobs and wealth to the Pilbara,” Mr Gilmour said.
Agriculture is just one transformational opportunity that Mr Gilmour is considering for inclusion in the draft Pilbara Regional Investment Blueprint which is currently being developed by the Pilbara Development Commission.
“I’m pleased to join the Commission during such a critical phase of strategic planning. I’m looking forward to exploring the feasibility of a range of diversification opportunities such as defence and tourism that will expand the Pilbara’s economic base beyond the mining industry,” Mr Gilmour said.
Since his appointment on October 13, Mr Gilmour has made several trips to the region attending meetings with Chief Executive Officers and elected leaders at the four local Government authorities, as well as Pilbara Regional Council, Tourism WA and a number of Government agencies while also getting a taste of existing education and defence facilities in the region.
“Good quality education will always remain a priority for regional Western Australia. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to tour the school at Warralong Aboriginal Community as well as the new Trade Training Centre at St Luke’s College,” Mr Gilmour said.
“I’m looking forward to building strong, mutually beneficial relationships between the Commission and its stakeholders to maximise the opportunities for development and expansion of the economy.”