State Development Minister Eric Ripper today welcomed a major step forward in collaboration between government and business for the social and economic development of the Pilbara.
Mr Ripper said the industry-initiated Pilbara Industry’s Community Council (PICC) was formed last year to help ensure that the potential opportunities of the rapidly developing region were fully realised.
Through PICC, industry and all levels of government are working together to develop a shared vision for the Pilbara that will help boost the skills and employment of indigenous Australians in particular.
“Through a collaborative approach by industry, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy and all three tiers of government, we hope to ensure that we can meet the present and future demands of the community and businesses alike,” the Minister said.
Mr Ripper said an endorsement in-principle of the approach would help parties work together to break down obstacles to indigenous people participating in the region’s growing economy.
The approach would also help achieve better outcomes in areas such as housing, health and education services.
The Minister said co-ordinated action was needed to address both the social challenges and the opportunities resulting from the rapid pace of iron ore and gas development and to anticipate the impact of continuing growth.
Mr Ripper said the PICC process would provide the information needed to help predict the effects of industry developments through to 2021 and help solve problems such as skills shortages.
“This information focuses attention on the need to ensure we have the right education, training and employment pathways so that both indigenous and non-indigenous youth in the Pilbara are prepared for the expected skills shortage in industry and service areas,” he said.
“It has also helped to identify needs in critical areas including housing, land release, health care and education.”
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