Mayor upbeat on Karratha conference win

Peter LongPilbara News
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long.
Camera IconCity of Karratha Mayor Peter Long. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr.

The Commonwealth Government has produced the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, with a vision to unlock the great potential and opportunities of the north we live in.

We all know the difficulties we face here — remoteness, long distances, poor roads, expensive airfares and limitations on education, health, job diversity and entertainment.

The White Paper has 51 recommendations which are intended to ease these difficulties. They include investment in roads, supply chains, water infrastructure, tourism and a co-operative research centre, which does research that may result in new industries, or which may help existing industries to be more efficient.

Although not a white paper recommendation, the Developing Northern Australia Conference is aligned with its vision, and as I mentioned in my previous column, Karratha has been awarded the 2019 event.

The annual gathering includes business, government, academic and not-for-profit enterprises which live, work, or are responsible for development in the northern third of Australia.

Its intent is to find out what we are doing in each jurisdiction to diversify our economy, increase productivity, improve liveability and provide new employment opportunities.

While remote, the north is a wealthy area. It comprises 53 per cent of Australia’s land mass and contributes 12 per cent of Australia’s GDP, yet has only 5 per cent of the Australian population.

The north exports some $140 billion annually (60 per cent from the Pilbara), which for our 1.3 million people equates to more than $100,000 per person. We all contribute above our weight, but with help, we could do more.

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