Welcome to the first edition of the PHIC newsletter for 2023, three months marked by the visit to Port Hedland of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his Cabinet colleagues.

While his original plans were disrupted, the Prime Minister remained true to his word to bring the full Cabinet to Port Hedland to enable all Ministers to see firsthand the scale of the operations that deliver economic benefits to the nation.

Port Hedland should continue to be proud of its unique place at the heart of Australia’s mining sector and as such it was an appropriate destination for the first Federal Cabinet meeting to be held in a regional WA town.

Writing ahead of the meeting, Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King said the visit gave long overdue recognition to the role the port city has played in the building the nation.

“Today, Port Hedland stands at the crossroads of road, rail and shipping, all coming together to drive our resources sector and generate jobs and economic growth,” she said.

Speaking at a breakfast event after the visit, Minister King said that her colleagues “have seen the scale and they get it”.

Fittingly for the world’s largest bulk-export port, the Cabinet meeting was held in the Port Hedland Port control tower.

While Port Hedland is at the heart of the nation’s mining sector, the Pilbara Ports Authority is at the heart of the export operation that connects our miners with their customers.

Roger Johnston has been at the helm as Chief Executive Officer for the past 10 years, but his tenure will end this year.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced late last year that she had appointed Aurizon NSW and Southeast Queensland Samuel McSkimming to take over from Roger for June 30.

Announcing the appointment, the Minister said, “Roger’s leadership and strategic thinking has been integral to the growth of our Pilbara ports, and I wish him all the best for the future”.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Roger for his hard work and dedication not only to the PPA and the ports it manages, but to the region and, in particular, Port Hedland.

I look forward to working with Samuel when he takes up the position.

Roger and PHIC Chairman and PPA General Manager Trade and Development Lyle Banks were part of a delegation that accompanied Premier Mark McGowan in January when he visited Japan.

PPA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of Himeji to boost renewable energy trade opportunities between WA and Japan.

The knowledge gained through the MoU will assist the Port of Port Hedland as it seeks to become carbon neutral and will complement the strategies of PHIC members including BHP, Roy Hill, Fortescue Metals Group and others to reduce their carbon emissions, including at their port operations.

Protection of the marine and landside environments will continue to be a focus for PHIC this year.

We completed 2022 with the most recent report of the State-Wide Array Surveillance Program, which did not detect any introduced marine pests that required intervention. The arrays were reset at the port in February.

You can read more about the SWASP and marine protection in our fact sheet.

PHIC has also received the latest land based pest management report as we continue our collaboration with the Town of Port Hedland, Care for Hedland, and Dampier Salt, to protect native species from predation.

To assist in knowledge sharing between PHIC members – one of the principles on which PHIC was established – the executive recently completed hydrogen introduction training as part of an effort to assist sharing of ideas when looking at carbon neutral planning.

We have recently celebrated International Women’s Day, but Hancock Prospecting Executive Chair Gina Rinehart was ahead of us when she paid tribute to trailblazing, resilient women in all walks of life in a speech at the Roy Hill mining operation to launch a video celebrating women in mining.

There is a separate article in this newsletter about Mrs Rinehart’s Roy Hill speech, along with a link to the video.

We held our first Community Industry Forum for the year on March 15, where we heard from BHP General Manager Cindy Dunham (Think Bigger for Port Hedland); PPA’s Lyle Banks (Lumsden Point Construction); and Hedland Maritime Initiative Managing Director Karlene Bylund with an update on the maritime precinct development.

There are separate articles on these issues in this newsletter.

I’m sure you’ll agree it has been another busy start to the year.

I look forward to working with all our stakeholders as we continue to champion Port Hedland, its community, and industry.
For the first time this will include new Associate Members as PHIC broadens its membership base to be more representative of industries associated with the port.