A Bill detailing the role the Pilbara Development Commission (PDC) will play in the future of the region has been introduced into State Parliament.
Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Ian Taylor said the creation of the statutory authority was the main recommendation of the Pilbara 21 strategy report and confirmed the Government's commitment to the region.
"At the same time, this Bill ensures the Commission will not cut across the role of other Government agencies or exceed its brief in any way," Mr Taylor said.
Under the Bill, the PDC will be based in the Pilbara, promote development and the region, have a limited life of five years and report directly to the Minister for State Development.
It would have a primary role in:
· establishing a university college of the North West, comprising Hedland and Karratha College;
· establish a Pilbara employment and training unit with the aim of co-ordinating all employment and training in the Pilbara, upgrading the local skills base and matching the labour needs of industry with the employment needs of local residents;
· conduct a feasibility study into a separate Pilbara energy authority;
· produce a co-ordinated tourism and transport development strategy;
· establish a Pilbara land use planning group to minimise future conflict over land use;
· create a Burrup Peninsula board of management under the Parks and Reserves Act to determine the best use of the important land on the Burrup;
· make representations to the Federal Government on reducing or eliminating taxes which impact disproportionately on remote areas; and
· develop strategies with the Public Service Commission to provide for greater regional autonomy for Pilbara-based government agencies.
"The Bill also provides for a small Board of six members, plus the director, and nominations have already been called for these positions, with an excellent response - more than 30 applications were received and the successful applicants will be selected shortly, based on merit," Mr Taylor said.
"What this Bill will do is to enshrine in legislation a far sighted blueprint for the future development of the Pilbara.
"It is an area which is set for a spectacular period of renewed growth, particularly in downstream processing industries, a dream which has eluded the State since the start of the Iron Ore industry, but which is now possible due to the initiatives of the Government."
In introducing the Bill, Mr Taylor paid tribute to the enormous contribution made by both Larry Graham and the late Pam Buchanan to the Pilbara 21 study.