Extreme remoteness and limited schooling has historically made it challenging for many Martu people, who live in the remote Western Desert, to understand how government, business and the legal system operate.
In an unprecedented move, Martu leaders invited representatives of the local and Perth-based criminal justice system on country for a four day Justice Camp, to initiate an open two-way dialogue and break down communication barriers between the cultures.
The initiative brought together more than 100 people, including the Pilbara Magistrate, senior officers from Newman and Jigalong Police stations, Aboriginal legal aid lawyers, senior staff from Roebourne Regional Prison and senior police managers from Perth
Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa Chief Executive Officer, Dr Kate Mackie, said the first justice meeting on country gave people in the criminal justice system a deeper understanding and respect for Martu culture and people.
“We are excited to be working on this initiative, with the support of the Pilbara Development Commission, to improve the community’s understanding of the legal system,” Dr Mackie said.
“It was an unprecedented opportunity for the group to speak openly and constructively about how to create better opportunities for Martu people and the broader community.”
Martu Leadership Program mentor and traditional owner Billy Landy said he felt it was a big moment in time for Martu.
“We haven’t been able to talk like this before,” Mr Landy said.
“I feel really proud for my people that we are taking this on. The whitefellas are listening to our story and we see that as a big respect.
“Everyone wants the same thing; to keep the young people out of trouble.”
The Justice Camp provided an opportunity for Martu to come up with ways to keep people out of the justice system, and minimise the chance of reoffending.
Officer in Charge Newman Police Mark Fleskens said the camp was a good start.
“We may be at an early part of a big journey, but what a great start to exploring new ways of doing things. The possibilities are considerable and now the real work begins,” Sergeant Fleskens said.
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill said the Commission was pleased to be supporting such an important program.
“The Martu Leadership Program is developing our future leaders and tackle some big issues. This has the potential to change the lives of many Martu people for the better,” Mr Hill said.
A number of initiatives are being implemented as a result of ideas raised at the Justice Camp, including a regular meeting between a youth and women’s group and the Newman Police, and a mock court event to teach Martu about court systems and legal processes.
The Justice Camp is an initiative of the Martu Leadership Program, which is supported by the Pilbara Development Commission Regional Grants Scheme, and delivered in partnership with World Vision Australia, BHP and the Australian Government.
The Martu Leadership Program aims to empower young Martu men and women through a series of on and off country learning experiences. The program aims to give young Martu people the confidence to work effectively with government agencies and to connect with residents of the Pilbara to share a deeper understanding of traditional Martu culture.
Image credit: Dave Wells
Property prices are showing signs of stabilising in the Pilbara, with the median house price in the City of Karratha lifting slightly for the second consecutive quarter, and median house rents remaining largely unchanged across the region.
The Pilbara’s Development Commission’s half-yearly Residential Housing and Land Snapshot was released today with a new-look and an enhanced data set, thanks to a partnership with the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill said the Commission had been producing the report for some 15 years to provide businesses, residents and investors with regular updates on the property market.
“The cost of living can be a barrier to doing business in the Pilbara; the Commission is committed to providing valuable, relevant data and information to assist businesses making investment decisions,” Mr Hill said.
“This new partnership with REIWA significantly reduces our data collection time, while bringing a new level of information provided in the report, such as average selling days and discounting measures.”
The latest report shows in the June quarter, the City of Karratha recorded a median rent of $390 per week, which is a $40 decrease compared to the same time last year. Median rent in the Town of Port Hedland has also fallen, currently sitting at $350 per week, which is $50 less than this time last year.
Median house prices in the City of Karratha increased to $302,500 in the June quarter, while median house prices dropped slightly in the Town of Port Hedland to $220,000, and in the Shire of East Pilbara to $128,000. Median house prices dropped to $300,000 in Onslow to $225,000 in Tom Price in the quarter.
The half-yearly report will also be circulated to REIWA’s membership list, creating a large audience base
“Our role is to promote the Pilbara, this partnership will extend our reach significantly and allow us to provide accurate information about what’s happening in the region,” Mr Hill said
REIWA President Hayden Groves said the Institute was pleased to be partnering with the Commission in providing relevant and timely property market information to the Pilbara community.
“This partnership provides a great opportunity for REIWA’s Pilbara members to get access to more in-depth information about their local real estate markets. Having a better understanding of how the local property markets are performing will assist our members with providing a superior service to their clients and community,” Mr Groves said.
The June Half Yearly Residential Housing and Land Snapshot is available to download from the Pilbara Development Commission website; www.pdc.wa.gov.au. To join the report mailing list please contact the Commission on via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1800 THE PILBARA.
Towns across the Pilbara celebrated business excellence this month, with winners of the annual business awards announced at gala dinners in Onslow, Port Hedland and Karratha.
The regional award roadshow started in Port Hedland, where the Commission presented the Best Community Organisation award to the EON Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that deliver a nutrition-based approach to addressing major challenges in remote Aboriginal communities.
The following weekend, Onslow celebrated the growing diversity and strength of the local business community. The Commission presented the Tourism and Hospitality Award to the Mackeral Islands, who offer a unique tourism experience combining the best of the Pilbara; fishing, diving and adventure.
To round out the Pilbara’s award night, was a gala dinner in Karratha attended by more than 300 local businesses and community leaders. The Commission presented the Young Small Business Achiever award to Bart Parsons from Rambla Bar and Bistro for his leadership and positive contribution to business development in the City of Karratha.
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill congratulated the winners.
“Developing a diverse and competitive small business sector is crucial to achieving sustainable economic growth, and these awards are a great way to recognise the businesses that are contributing to this vision,” Mr Hill said.
Winners of selected categories will be nominated for the WA Regional Small Business Awards.
The WA Government has launched a new online gateway to better connect potential candidates with opportunities to contribute their experience, expertise, advice and voice to help the community.
OnBoardWA connects potential candidates to opportunities on government boards and committees.
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer encouraged Pilbara residents to contribute their expertise to help the community by putting their hand up for a role on a government board or committee.
"Anyone who's interested in shaping the future of the Pilbara, or WA more broadly, can register their interest through the OnBoardWA website," Mr Hill said.
OnBoardWA also includes information about how to register, what kinds of opportunities are available and what the role of a board member is.
"Accepting a role on a Board is a big commitment, but it's a great way to offer your expertise and be a strong voice for your community," Mr Hill said.
The new online portal will ensure the talent pool is diverse and representative of the whole community.
For more information visit OnBoardWA.
The Pilbara Development Commission advertises Board vacancies on it's website and in regional newspapers.
More than 400 delegates attended the New Pilbara Economic Development Conference in Perth last month. To ensure everyone in the Pilbara, and across WA, had access to the conference, the presentations were filmed by Westlink and broadcast around regional Western Australia in September. If you missed it, all the presentations are now available to watch on the Pilbara Development Commission website.
The conference sparked a lively discussion about the future economic development opportunities on the horizon for the Pilbara. Opened by Minister for Regional Development, Alannah MacTiernan, the conference covered a variety of themes including solar energy, agriculture, tourism, arts and culture, and Aboriginal business.
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill said the conference put a spotlight on some of the lesser-known assets of the Pilbara to showcase the region's diversity and economic potential.
"There was a very positive energy in the room as we considered what's possible for the Pilbara's future," Mr Hill said.
"The Commission is proud to again be a major sponsor of the conference, and to have helped the Chambers to shape a regionally-focused and diverse program."
The New Pilbara Economic Development Conference is an initiative of the Pilbara Regional Chambers of Commerce.
The Pilbara Development Commission welcomes the new appointment of Mr Brendan Hammond as chairperson of the board, announced by the Minister for Regional Development on 1 September 2017.
Brendan has senior leadership experience across a number of industries, including energy and the mining sector. He has delivered substantial revenue growth and profitability to organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
After more than 22 years with Rio Tinto in a number of senior roles, Mr Hammond was appointed as managing director of Argyle Diamonds, where he demonstrated that profitability and social and environmental performance can go together. He has also led the boards of Horizon Power and the Dampier Port Authority.
Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan said Brendan had an extraordinary track record in the private and public sectors as well as deep engagement with the Pilbara and with indigenous economic development.
"He brings intelligence, drive and energy to all his work - I am confident he will provide tremendous leadership to strengthen the Pilbara in this time of transition,” Minister MacTiernan said.
Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill welcomed the new appointment.
“Brendan is a well-respected leader who has strong ties with the Pilbara and regional Western Australia,” Mr Hill said.
Brendan will visit the Pilbara next month for his first board meeting as Chairperson, and will be attending the Karratha Business After Hours on 11 October, followed by the Warlu Way Tourism Conference the following day.
The Pilbara has an abundance of natural resources, including sunlight.
The Pilbara Development Commission is working with the City of Karratha, YARA Pilbara and Sahara Forest Project on a feasibility study for a project that aims to provide fresh water, food and renewable energy in suitable locations by recycling seawater and harnessing energy from the sun.
While the feasibility study in the Pilbara is progressing, The Sahara Forest Project in Jordan took a major step forward earlier this month. The 3-hectare Project Launch Station was inaugurated by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.
The objective of the Launch Station is to pave the way for large scale expansion of restorative farming in Jordan. The Launch Station is the first step towards the full-scale Sahara Forest Project Jordan Center of 20 hectares.
Click here to read more about The Sahara Forest Project.