Bid to lure PM to region

Alicia PereraPilbara News
RCCIWA chief executive Kitty Prodonovich, KDCCI chief executive John Lally and president Kylah Morrison at the 2017 Pilbara Economic Development Conference.
Camera IconRCCIWA chief executive Kitty Prodonovich, KDCCI chief executive John Lally and president Kylah Morrison at the 2017 Pilbara Economic Development Conference. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

A third annual Pilbara Economic Development Conference has been confirmed for 2018 and Malcolm Turnbull could feature as part of the speaker line-up.

Less than a month after the completion of the 2017 conference, also dubbed the New Pilbara, in Perth, the Pilbara Regional Chambers of Commerce confirmed last week it would be running a 2018 event.

Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive John Lally said a date was yet to be determined because the chambers would be writing to invite the Prime Minister to speak and were prepared to plan it around his schedule.

He said having Mr Turnbull’s attendance would benefit the Pilbara’s standing on a Federal level, where the region was often overlooked.

“Federally, even though the Pilbara ports add millions, even billions, into the economy, we don’t get a lot of attention,” Mr Lally said.

“Queensland and the Northern Territory get a lot of attention, so having the Prime Minister there is really to give the people attending the Government view and also to showcase the Pilbara to the Federal Government.”

The New Pilbara Conference began in 2016 to showcase emerging investment opportunities in the region to outside decision-makers and improve its image from being purely a resource hub. The 2017 conference drew a crowd of about 400 people to the Hyatt Regency in Perth, two-thirds of whom were from outside the Pilbara.

In another major announcement, the Pilbara chambers are also planning to restart intra-regional economic conferences from next year, in the vein of the former Pilbara Pulse events.

Those conferences will be held each year but alternate between Port Hedland and Karratha, beginning in Hedland in 2018.

“We’ve run them before and they’re successful, and it gives local businesses and Pilbara people a chance to hear and share ideas,” Mr Lally said.

“We used to annually run a Pilbara Pulse, but we stopped them to do the New Pilbara.”

Mr Lally said feedback from last month’s New Pilbara Conference been “exceptionally good”.

“We do it because we have to do it, because the people that make all the decisions about us, we got 350- odd of them along to that day so they can hear our story,” he said.

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