From the port to the Premier’s office, it’s the season for change.

We have a new Premier, a new Minister for Ports, and a new Chief Executive Officer at the Pilbara Ports Authority.

On behalf of all Port Hedland Industry Council members, I congratulate Roger Cook, David Michael, and Samuel McSkimming on their respective appointments – and wish outgoing PPA Chief Executive Roger Johnston well as he leaves the agency.

Former premier Mark McGowan was a regular visitor to Port Hedland, and I extend an invitation to Mr Cook to visit us as soon as possible.

Former ports minister Rita Saffioti is now Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Tourism, handing the Ports portfolio to Mr Michael.

We may be biased at PHIC, but I can think of no better introduction to the portfolio than a visit to the Port of Port Hedland to see the scale of our members’ operations.

While on the PPA, it seems a long time ago but well done to the Port Hedland team for their work in setting a 24-hour throughput record after resuming operations after Tropical Cyclone Ilsa.

The port was cleared as the Category Five system approached, crossing 120km east north east of the town on April 15.

When operations resumed, the port moved 2.817 million tonnes with 15 vessel movements.

Congratulations also to Hancock Prospecting Group Executive Chair Gina Rinehart on being named the 2023 Western Australian of the Year in recognition of her corporate success and generous philanthropy.

It is a fitting tribute to someone who has delivered drive, leadership, vision and compassion in business and across the community.

Our latest Community Industry Forum meeting was held this month with presentations from Fortescue, Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation, the Pilbara Development Commission, and Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel.

CIF members, PHIC members, and members of the community and school and government representatives took the opportunity to attend a hydrogen introductory course earlier this month presented by PHIC.

The course was facilitated by Integrated Energy Managing Director David Cavanagh and included information on hydrogen production and technology, safety, applications of hydrogen, skills and future pathways.

It was enjoyable and informative and an example of the type of educational initiatives PHIC is looking to develop further, including our Train the Trainer Mining 101 initiative.

Future skills was also a theme touched on by Fortescue Manager Strategic Change Melanie Atkinson in her address to the Community Industry Forum.

PHIC members and industry generally are pursuing decarbonisation targets, and with this change comes new opportunities, particularly for jobs either through new skills or retraining.

The workforce of the future will continue to evolve as we all gain a greater understanding of the requirements of achieving net-zero operations.

PHIC coordinated the first feral pest control event for the year in April which saw an increase in trapped foxes.

Stakeholders including PHIC members, Dampier Salt, Town of Port Hedland and Care For Hedland will assess these results and prepare for the second round for the year in September.

Care For Hedland has said fox predation of turtle rookeries has fallen to zero which shows this approach is effective in reducing the damage inflicted by foxes and feral cats on susceptible native fauna species.

PHIC received confirmation in April from the State Wide Array Surveillance Program, monitoring for invasive marine pests in the port, that there were no invasive species requiring action identified from the 2022 Winter Soak.

It is good to see PHIC members continuing to work collaboratively to protect Port Hedland’s marine environment.

And, finally, congratulations to the Town of Port Hedland for another successful Welcome to Hedland in May. Plenty of people dropped by the PHIC stand and it was great to be able to have chat. We’ll be back again next year.