The State Government has appointed an impressive group of business and community representatives to the board of the Pilbara Development Commission.
The chairman of the board will be Mr Dick Carter, group general manager of one of Australia's largest resource companies - BHP, a company with a major presence in the Pilbara region.
The Deputy Chairman will be Pilbara small business proprietor, Mr Terry Baker.
Members of the board include renowned environmental consultant Mr Harry Butler, Shire president and teacher Mr Dennis Hodge, acting director of Karratha College Ms Patricia Cheek and Shire councillor and union identity Mr Don Bartlem.
Cabinet has also agreed to extend the appointment of Richard Harris as acting director of the Commission until a full-time director is appointed.
Acting State Development Minister Gordon Hill said the majority of the new board were long-time Pilbara residents and their combined expertise and local knowledge should serve the Commission and region well.
"The PDC has a very important task ahead; it will work for the further economic and social development of the Pilbara Region in line with recommendations contained in the Government's Pilbara 21 Report," Mr Hill said.
"The Commission will be based in the region and the State Government is keen that its board members be strongly linked to the area. It will report directly to the Minister for State Development."
Mr Hill said the PDC would play a major role in:
· establishing the University/College of the North-West;
· establishing a Pilbara employment and training unit to co-ordinate employment and training in the Pilbara and upgrade the skills base to match the labour needs of industry with the employment needs of local residents;
· establishing the Pilbara Energy Authority;
· producing a co-ordinated tourism and transport development strategy;
· making representations to the Federal Government on reducing or eliminating those taxes which impact disproportionately on the Pilbara;
· developing strategies with the Public Service Commission to provide greater regional autonomy for Pilbara-based Government agencies;
· establishing the Pilbara land use planning group aimed at ensuring that adequate planning took place; and -
· creating the Burrup Peninsula Board of Management to determine the best use of important land on the Burrup.
Mr Hill said the Pilbara was ready to enter its next phase of development and expansion based on sound planning and more local autonomy for the region.
"The Pilbara 21 strategy can be regarded as a blueprint for the future and its main recommendation - the formation of the Pilbara Development Commission has now become a reality," he said.