The doors are open to the highly-anticipated Karratha Health Campus, now meet the people behind the building; the locals who took advantage of new career opportunities, and the new-comers who came to the Pilbara for work and found so much more.
The State Government’s $207.15 million project was the biggest investment ever undertaken in a public hospital in regional WA and has marked a new era in healthcare delivery for residents living in Karratha and surrounding towns in the West Pilbara.
Perth-based builder, Multiplex, was awarded the tender for the main building contract with construction getting underway in 2016. More than 70 per cent of the construction workforce lived in Karratha over the two-year build, including former-Fremantle Dockers player Steven Dodd, a sub-contractor engaged to commission the electrical system at the new health campus.
Steven chose to relocate with his wife and two daughters for the job, and in less than 12 months, the young family has quickly found themselves immersed in the Pilbara lifestyle with no plans to leave.
“We drove into Karratha and since then we haven’t looked back to be honest, we absolutely love it up here,” he said.
“There are so many young families and there’s always activities for the kids to do. We’ve really been surprised by that, and how family-friendly the place is.
“The more we travel around the region the more we know this has been a great move for us, it’s something other people should definitely consider.”
Multiplex supervisor Wesley McClay, who moved to Karratha two years ago after a stint of fly-in-fly-out work, said living locally had been a great move.
“You get to go home every night and you don’t have the stress of missing out on things, of missing out on life,” he said.
Wesley also thinks the locally-based workforce had a positive impact on the project.
“When you’ve got local people, you get to know each other personally and it makes for a better work environment,” he said.
New career opportunities also emerged for existing Karratha residents, like Jessica Carr, who was employed by Multiplex as a Health, Safety and Environment Advisor.
Jessica completed high school in Karratha after her family relocated to the region and went on to a job in the mining sector before making the move to construction.
“I’d never worked in construction before and thought it would be a good opportunity to broaden my knowledge. It was an amazing opportunity and I’m so glad I took it,” she said.
Jessica believes the residentially-based workforce also made it easier to embed good health and safety practices.
“It was easier to develop relationships with people when you could catch up with them outside of work and you have the ability to create stronger relationships with people if you’re in the same community,” she said.
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill said the approach to the construction of the Karratha Health Campus was an outstanding example of the impact a residential workforce could have on the social and economic well-being of a regional community.
“The legacy of the health campus goes beyond bricks and mortar, it’s created new opportunities for residents and attracted a new wave of residents and families to town,” Terry said.
“Employing a residential workforce should always be the first option, particularly in the Pilbara where towns like Karratha have the infrastructure, opportunities and lifestyle to attract and retain residents.”
The health campus is set to continue to attract a skilled workforce to the regional city.
“The new health campus will be a highly desirable workplace for health practitioners and specialists, ensuring residents have access to a range of services and are well cared in their time of need.”
Patient transfers to the new Karratha Health Campus commenced on Monday 17 September 2018, with the emergency department opening its doors on Wednesday 19 September.
The Karratha Health Campus was funded by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program through the Pilbara Development Commission, and the Pilbara Industries Community Council.
Image credit: Douglas Black
The Pilbara’s creative and cultural sector could deliver a major economic boost to the region’s economy according to speakers at the recent Pilbara Creative and Cultural Forum in Newman.
Attracting more than 220 delegates from across Australia, including Alice Springs, Melbourne and Sydney, and from across the Pilbara region, the Forum explored the current strengths of the Pilbara’s creative and cultural sector and opportunities for future growth.
Melbourne Festival Director Jonathon Holloway, who brought The Giants to Perth in 2015, delivered a keynote presentation encouraging the sector to think big and not be limited by the need to seek permission.
“Creating The Giants, we knew we wouldn’t get a yes, but what we got were a thousand not-no’s,” Mr Holloway said.
“This is the land of giants, of space, beauty and possibility.”
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill said art was emerging as big business in the region.
“This Forum marks a turning point in the way we develop the Pilbara’s creative and cultural sector moving forwards,” Mr Hill said.
“In many ways, the Pilbara is already leading the way with sophisticated and innovative development of arts businesses and we have an opportunity to harness these strengths and become a globally-renowned creative hub.
“The future prosperity of the Pilbara relies on our ability to create diversity within the economy and the creative and cultural sector will play an important part in this as a creator of employment and new economic growth.”
Outcomes of workshops held during the two-day Forum will inform an industry development strategy that aims to unleash the potential of the Pilbara’s creative and cultural sector.
“The resulting strategy will provide a blueprint for a more coordinated and effective approach to investment in arts and culture infrastructure and initiatives and will ensure our regional art centres thrive long into the future,” Mr Hill said.
Tracker Development Principal Consultant Tim Acker will lead the development of the strategy in close consultation with the creative and cultural industry, all levels of government and the resources sector.
The Pilbara Creative and Cultural Forum was delivered by the Pilbara Development Commission in partnership with FORM, with support from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Lotterywest, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Screenwest, BHP, Shire of East Pilbara, Roy Hill, Yara, Newcrest, Woodside, Rio Tinto and FMG.
Image credit: Bewley Shaylor
In July, the Commission welcomed Karratha-local Eliza Carbines to the newly created role of Pilbara Local Content Advisor.
Local Content Advisers have been appointed in each region in WA and are available to provide advisory and referral services to businesses in regional areas. Their focus is on helping support regional businesses compete for State Government supply opportunities.
In her role, Eliza will work with local suppliers, Chambers of Commerce, State Government agencies and the private sector to maximise opportunities for Pilbara-based contractors and jobseekers.
Eliza draws on a lifetime of experience working with and for regional businesses.
“I grew up in a family who owned small business in regional areas, so I understand how important it is to back local businesses,” Eliza said.
“My career has been built around commercial contract negotiation and tender management in both the tier one and tier two space in the private sector.
“I find these combined experiences really useful in my advocacy for local business whist maintaining a really clear commercial appreciation of what procurement teams need and want from their suppliers.”
Eliza has hit the ground running, spending time meeting with local businesses to find out what they need most, presenting at business events and engaging with private industry to understand their local procurement programs and practices.
“There is a lot of momentum in the local content space at the moment, and now more than ever the Pilbara has an incredibly diverse range of skilled businesses who are willing and able to compete with non-regional businesses,” she said.
“I am really proud to live and work in the Pilbara and am incredibly excited about this new role.”
A regular update on local content events, opportunities and outcomes will feature in each edition of the Our Pilbara newsletter.
For more information about local content in the Pilbara visit the Pilbara Development Commission website or contact Eliza via email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0427 869 008.
Businesses in Port Hedland will have better access to support programs, collaboration opportunities and affordable office and coworking space with the brand-new WEB Business Hub officially opening this week.
The WEB is an innovation and coworking facility that aims to accelerate small business growth in Port Hedland.
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill said it was a major milestone that would be celebrated by the more than 2,500 businesses operating in Port Hedland.
“The opening of the WEB heralds a new era for small business in Port Hedland as the town’s first dedicated coworking and innovation space. This project is another great example of how strong partnerships in the Pilbara between government and industry continue to deliver excellent results for businesses and the community,” Mr Hill said
Twenty-three Pilbara businesses were contracted as part of the construction of the WEB, with 60 per cent of the furnishings for the facility fit-out purchased from local businesses.
The WEB is one of three business innovation centres in the Pilbara supported by the State Government that will work together to accelerate small business growth and development in the region.
"In the Pilbara, small businesses are underrepresented compared to other regions in WA, so it’s vital that we create an environment conducive to business growth and entrepreneurship."
The WEB Business Hub was made possible with $2 million from the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program through the Pilbara Development Commission, a $1.9 million contribution from BHP and $425,000 from the Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce Incorporated.
Investment in regional development projects in the Pilbara could receive a major boost with seven State Government grants currently open with up to $300,000 for individual projects available to support industry and economic development. Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill urged businesses, local governments and investors to put their project ideas forward for consideration.
“This is a great opportunity to receive a capital injection and accelerate industry and economic growth in the Pilbara,” Mr Hill said.
Broadening the Pilbara’s economy by growing industries such as agriculture, tourism and renewable energy are a key part of the region’s economic development agenda.
“The Pilbara has the natural resources, proximity to markets and existing economic infrastructure to build sustainable new industries that will create greater employment and stability in the region’s economy.”
Current grants support a range of project opportunities such as feasibility and research studies, events, innovation and projects that stimulate industry development.
“If your organisation has a project idea that will improve productivity, grow jobs and diversify the Pilbara’s economy I strong encourage you to consider applying for funding.”
A list of current regional development grant rounds is available at www.pdc.wa.gov.au/grants
Grants guru Cassie Baldock is well known to Pilbara community groups and non-profit organisations in her role administering a number of funding programs during her three years with the Commission.
Based in Port Hedland, Cassie is currently overseeing more than 100 active grants across the Pilbara ranging from foreshore revitalisations to business support programs.
Cassie’s background in communications and experience working at the Port Hedland Visitor Centre mean she is well placed to provide support to proponents through the application and grant administration process.
“I love the excitement of being able to let people know they have been successful in securing funding, or helping them to shape a project,” Cassie said.
When asked about her favourite project, she said it was hard to choose but there was one stand out.
“The Newman Day Centre redevelopment was an incredible transformation that will benefit those who are most in need,” she said.
“I feel privileged to have played a part in supporting the project from planning to construction and then to celebrate with the community and all the staff at the opening was a real highlight.”
Cassie lives in Port Hedland and is an active member of the community as the coordinator of Spectres Netball Club and event coordinator of the Port Hedland Netball Association.
“I help to run the pop-up bar at the West End markets a few times a year for our netball club which feeds my passion for event management and craft,” she said.
Cassie will be kept busy in the coming months with the first round of the Regional Economic Development grants (RED grants) currently open for application, bringing a new wave of investment to the region for economic growth projects.