This week in Karratha we have some 400 visitors who have come to attend the Developing Northern Australia Conference at the Red Earth Arts Precinct.

This is the first time it has been held in WA and we are very proud to be the hosts.

The Conference is sub-titled “Progress, Growth and Investment” and will have 63 different sessions discussing everything from agriculture to renewable energy.

We are very privileged to have the Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle here in town for the Conference. An HFCV has electric motors to drive the wheels, and batteries, much like a Toyota Prius, but instead of the small petrol engine, it has a hydrogen fuel cell. The car can be refuelled, as we do an LPG car today, from a dedicated bowser in a few minutes.

It is perfectly quiet to drive and goes for 500 km on one 5 kg tank of hydrogen. The only thing that comes out of the exhaust is water!

We are very keen to develop renewable hydrogen producing exporting industries in Karratha and the Mirai HFCV shows just what the future may look like. You may get a chance to drive it this week!

Also at the Conference, there will be talks on new aquaculture projects across the north, including oysters, barramundi and freshwater prawn developments. One of these projects is at Karratha in the Dampier Archipelago. The Murujuga Oyster trial project has been going for 18 months now and is looking very promising.

There will be discussions on tertiary education possibilities for remote areas, including our new Pilbara University Centre.

There will be sessions on new Aboriginal business opportunities and some of the excellent examples of Aboriginal owned companies around the Pilbara.

We will discuss the improvement of transport, freight links and supply chains, new tourism developments, new agriculture opportunities, micro-grids and the latest research into agriculture and the environment: it is going to be great!

I would like to welcome all visitors to our beautiful town, our amazing Pilbara and the incredible Kimberley.

I hope you have a fantastic visit – and then come back for more.

Remember, Karratha is Calling!