- Unprecedented growth potential in the resources sector of WA puts the Pilbara region firmly on the global stage    click here to open paper content60 kb
by    Prattley, Gary | helen.coleman@planning.wa.gov.au   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The Pilbara is the economic powerhouse of Australia and is on the verge of another period of accelerated growth. The State Government’s vision for Pilbara cities is for modern, vibrant, regional centres that will not only accommodate increased population growth but will also become viable for all who live in the towns whether directly or indirectly involved in the resources sector.
Western Australia’s Pilbara region plays a key role in the economy of Western Australia and the nation, with tens of billions of dollars worth of mineral and petroleum exports annually underwriting major investment decisions in new resources projects.

Despite the global financial downturn, Western Australia’s resources industry continues to flourish. And major contributors to this prosperity are massive world-class iron ore, oil and gas projects in the Pilbara region.

As many more billions of dollars worth of new projects move from construction to operational phases, workforces are likely to shift from a predominantly fly-in-fly-out source to those that will be housed locally.

One of the current imbalances of Pilbara life is the huge discrepancy in the earning capacity of those directly employed in the resources sector, compared with those engaged in service industries such as retail, hospitality, tourism, schools, medical centres and the Police. Recruiting sufficient numbers of people to undertake service roles will be a challenge, because of the current high cost of accommodation.

However, the State Government’s vision for Pilbara Cities is for modern, vibrant regional centres that are affordable for people of all walks of life, so they can support and deliver appropriate skills for the next wave of resources development in the region.

The realisation of this vision rests on the promotion of quality facilities that will encourage the development of strong local communities. The blueprint includes proposals for major revitalisations of South Hedland, Karratha, Newman, Dampier, Tom Price and Onslow town centres, in addition to plans to create new marinas and improved waterfronts at Port Hedland, Dampier and possibly Onslow. New infrastructure and facilities such as schools, TAFEs, medical facilities, leisure and entertainment facilities and retail precinct are also proposed as part of the plan. The initiative also aims to maximise opportunities for local indigenous communities.

The Pilbara region is a globally significant industrial “hotspot” and a most important export-earning region for Australia for many years to come. Developing sustainable new communities in one of the oldest and most remote landscapes in the world is a unique challenge.

Pilbara Cities initiative
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