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At 60 percent complete, the redevelopment of Roebourne’s iconic Victoria Hotel is already a catalyst for bringing the community together, indicating a bright future ahead for the Pilbara’s oldest town.
More than 40 people gathered at the Victoria Hotel on Monday 13 August where staff from the Pilbara Development Commission, along with project managers RFF, served up kangaroo stew and shared insights into how the project had created training and employment opportunities for locals.
The event was the fourth in a series of community gatherings hosted during construction to ensure the community is informed and up to date with the progress of the project.
To date, the redevelopment of the Victoria Hotel has resulted in almost 5,000 employment hours for Aboriginal people, with approximately 86 per cent of the contract to be expended on local and Aboriginal businesses.
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill said the Victoria Hotel was an outstanding example of a project that is providing long-term skills and development opportunities for the local community.
“This is a project for the community, built by the community,” Mr Hill said.
Standing proudly in the main street of Roebourne, the Victoria Hotel represents both the town’s pioneering past, when it was the largest in the north west between Geraldton and Darwin, and its future potential.
“The Victoria Hotel is a key part of the town’s history, but it also symbolises the potential for Roebourne as a reinvigorated, vibrant hub where community, business and visitors can come together," Mr Hill said.
Partnerships with organisations such as the Department of Justice have been fundamental to ensuring the project delivers a positive legacy for Roebourne.
Department of Justice Superintendent Dave White said inmates from Roebourne Regional Prison had contributed more than 2,000 hours to the project.
“This has been a really positive opportunity for inmates to build their trade skills making them ready to secure employment when they are released,” Superintendent White said.
The Victoria Hotel was purchased by the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation, through the Yindjibarndi Capital Trust, in 2013 to return the iconic building to its former glory and transform it into a cultural and commercial hub.
Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation Chief Executive Officer Michael Woodley said the project had already created a wave of excitement and new opportunity for the community.
“We’ve made a real effort to get the whole community involved and it’s been great to see them really embrace this project,” Mr Woodley said.
The Victoria Hotel redevelopment project is supported by the Pilbara Development Commission through Royalties for Regions, the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation.
Construction is due to be completed by mid-December 2018, with the official opening planned for early 2019.