The world’s largest bulk exporting port is now more important than ever to the national economy, says Town of Port Hedland Commissioner Fred Riebeling.

During the challenging economic conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mining and resources sector continues to hold strong in the face of tumultuous global trading conditions.

While economic sectors such as retail, hospitality and tourism hibernate, iron ore mining and shipments are providing the foundational footing for the broader national economy.

Industry taxation buffers the significant budgetary impacts felt by local, state and federal governments enacting increased public expenditure measures to help alleviate the economic pain felt by communities.

“We’ve seen the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on communities across the county in recent weeks, with millions more Australian’s now unemployed and small businesses shutting shop on high streets across the country,” Mr Riebeling said.

“For the foreseeable future, the service sectors of the economy will contract, particularly in relation to hospitality, tourism and retail businesses. At the same time, we’re seeing the fundamental strength of the mining and resources sector power on against the odds: trade volume is projected to hit 700 million tonnes by 2027.

“Iron Ore provides export revenue to the state and national treasuries. It provides local people with job opportunities in a hostile labour market, with BHP announcing 1,500 new positions this week across a range of skill sets. This is particularly important for our young people, who need string employment opportunities to stay in town.

“The town values our string partnerships with industry: for example, the multi-million-dollar BHP Community Events Partnership and the consistent sponsorship for community engagement and event initiatives obtained across the sector.

“The industry is contributing more to the town’s rates yield with the endorsement of retrospective rating, meaning we now have a greater capability to invest in our core infrastructure assets to make Hedland an attractive and liveable town.

“The town’s roll out of a record $60 million infrastructure program is made possible by the rates derived by the mining and industrial categories. We’ve been able to build new playgrounds, lay new footpaths and modernise spaces as a result of this yield.

“With the recent passage of Improvement Plan 50, we’ve also seen certainty delivered on the town’s historical discussions on dust levels, which means better planning outcomes for residents, community groups and business into the future.”