A focus on creating local jobs, ensuring a strong regional economy, and investment in regional health services and education in the Pilbara are key components of the 2020-21 State Budget, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said when he addressed Port Hedland industry and community leaders.

In a strong pitch to local leaders, Mr Dawson said the State Government acknowledged COVID-19 has been one of the most significant social and economic challenges of our lifetimes. But a small surplus and signs the economy was bouncing back solidly, is underpinning the WA Recovery Plan.

The budget provides a comprehensive strategy and an unprecedented $5.5 billion investment to support WA and drive economic recovery. In addition to State-wide initiatives, this includes 200 projects specific to regional WA and a significant focus on the Pilbara and the creation of local jobs.

In addition to the $136.5 million for the Port Hedland Spoilbank Marina and waterfront development, Port Hedland is set to benefit from a range of infrastructure projects including:

  • $71.2 million for upgrades at the Port of Port Hedland including upgrading retaining and sea walls
  • $10.5 million to upgrade the entrance road to Boodarie Strategic Industrial Area in Hedland
  • $1.63 million towards maintenance and infrastructure upgrades in remote Aboriginal communities including Walagunya, Irrungadji, Gooda Binya and Yandeyarra
  • $10 million through the Regional Road Safety Program to upgrade 85 kilometres of Pilbara roads with shoulder sealing and installation of audible lines, creating around 50 local jobs
  • $15 million for upgrades to Hedland Senior High School including a new sports hall and four general learning classrooms and refurbishments to STEM facilities, IT laboratories, home economics laboratory, childcare vocational training room, the Education Support Centre and Hardie House
  • $22 million to North Regional TAFE’s Pundulmurra (South Hedland) campus for a new workshop to expand training for plant mechanic and engineering trades as well as commercial cookery, tailored to meet resource sector requirements

Health services initiatives include:

  • $6.8 million for the continuation of the Aboriginal Community Connectors Program that provides patrols and safe transport in communities across WA including Hedland and Roebourne
  • $9.2 million for Country Ambulance services and enhanced access and patient flow for country patients
  • $13.8 million towards the Pilbara Health Initiative, delivering specialist services including obstetrics to enable patients to be treated closer to home

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the State Government’s ongoing guarantee to deliver Royalties for Regions ensures Western Australians have access to quality services, no matter where they live.

“We’re getting on with delivering long-awaited projects that the Pilbara really needs to diversify its economy – like the Spoilbank Marina in Hedland, and the Karratha-Tom Price Road.

“For the past four years, we have been focused on creating local jobs, delivering our election commitments in the region, and ensuring we continue to improve local infrastructure and services like hospitals and schools.”