The West Australian exclusive

Anthony Albanese to bring Cabinet to Port Hedland in recognition of WA’s contribution to national economy

Joe SpagnoloThe West Australian
Mark McGowan will join Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Port Hedland when the Federal Cabinet comes to WA in September.
Camera IconMark McGowan will join Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Port Hedland when the Federal Cabinet comes to WA in September. Credit: Supplied/TheWest

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will bring his Cabinet to Port Hedland later this year in recognition of the critical contribution of WA’s north to the national economy.

Mr Albanese will be joined by his senior ministers in the booming export town on September 16 — with Premier Mark McGowan also set to visit the Pilbara at the same time.

It will be the first time a Federal Cabinet meeting has been held in Port Hedland, the gateway through which much of the State’s iron ore is shipped overseas.

“Western Australia is much more than Perth and it is fitting we hold our first WA regional Federal Cabinet in Port Hedland, the engine room of the Western Australian economy,” Mr Albanese told The Sunday Times.

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 12:  Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks at the Sydney Energy Forum on July 12, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. The Sydney Energy Forum brings together global leaders across government, industry, academia, technology and innovation to identify solutions to delivering clean energy supply chains across the Indo-Pacific. It is co-hosted by the Australian Government, the International Energy Agency and the Business Council of Australia. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)
Camera IconPrime Minister Anthony Albanese said Port Hedland is a ‘fitting’ location. Credit: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

“I have already visited WA six times this year, and I am looking forward to seeing the red dirt of the Pilbara very soon.”

During the recent election campaign, Mr Albanese promised to bring his Cabinet to WA twice in his first year as PM if elected — and that he intended to make frequent trips to the west.

“I made a commitment to Western Australians that I would become a regular visitor and I intend to deliver on that promise,” Mr Albanese said.

The Prime Minister’s arrival in Port Hedland flanked by his most senior colleagues will be a boon for the community, which has been besieged by tragedy recently.

The deaths of three children in a house fire sent shock waves through the town — and the State — earlier this week. The tragedy occurred just weeks after an Indigenous woman took her own life inside Hedland Health Campus, sparking calls for a coronial inquest.

At the election, Mr McGowan was integral to the fight to win Federal Labor seats.

The Premier famously predicted in December last year that Mr Albanese could win five additional seats at the election.

He won four — Swan, Hasluck, Pearce and Tangney — with the Liberals also losing Curtin to teal independent Kate Chaney.

Despite the Labor landslide in WA, Brand MP Madeleine King — the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia — was the only West Australian selected for Mr Albanese’s Cabinet.

In the Outer Ministry, Matt Keogh (Burt) was appointed Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel, while Anne Aly (Cowan) is the Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth.

House of Reps Members & Candidates, WA Labor candidates and member elects.
South Perth foreshore. 
Cowan- Anne Aly
Camera IconAnne Aly (Cowan) is the Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Mr McGowan said the Prime Minister’s decision to bring his Cabinet to WA recognised the State’s “contribution and our value to the whole nation”.

“The Pilbara is the powerhouse of the national economy, so it’s important all Federal Ministers directly understand the significance of the region for the future prosperity of the nation,” he said.

“During the pandemic we kept significant operations and businesses operating, providing wealth for the whole country and Australia’s economy. This will be a wonderful opportunity for the Federal Cabinet to see just some of the operations.

“I look forward to seeing Anthony and his Cabinet in Port Hedland,” he said.

In a sign of how important WA has become to both major parties, Opposition leader Peter Dutton held his first shadow Cabinet meeting here in June.

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