Welcome everybody to our beautiful City of Karratha and thankyou Pansy for your welcome to country.
I would like to acknowledge the Ngarluma people on whole land we are gathered today and also:
· Julie Shuttleworth - Deputy CEO, Fortescue Metals Group
· Dr Fang Chen - UTS
· Paul Lucey - Fortescue Autonomy Lead
· Kylah Morrison – CEO, KDCCI
· Terry Hill - CEO, PDC
This is a very big day for Karratha.
You cannot imagine our excitement when we heard that a company of the size and importance of Fortescue Metals Group intended to establish a research and development centre based in Karratha, to explore opportunities for the application of autonomous mobility technology in an urban environment.
This was and is the most fantastic news and I feel privileged to be here today to assist in the opening of this centre.
As a part of our Vision to become Australia’s Most Liveable Regional City, it has been long recognised that it is important to establish a tertiary education institution here in Karratha: but more than this, to use Karratha as the base for research into fields which have become specialisations in the Pilbara – remote mining, autonomous vehicles and machinery, marine science, solar hydrogen – and many other things.
In November last year, the nascent Pilbara Universities Centre group, of which Kylah here is Chair, and I a founding member, was awarded $3M by the Federal Government for the establishment of a fully-fledged University centre in the model of the City of Greater Geraldton’s. The PUC is to take up space in the same building as FMG and expects to begin delivering university degree courses in the second semester of this year.
So it is a wonderful confluence of circumstance that the PUC and this new Centre are becoming established at the same time.
Companies in the Pilbara – both on and offshore – have long been forced to look at new ways to do things. We are very remote; our environment is harsh. We have extremely high temperatures, cyclonic winds; torrential rains; rock as hard as steel but a seabed so soft that piles disappear.
So the people and companies that operate here, have to be innovative, they need to research, trial, rebuild and trial again. And here we have Fortescue doing that, right here in Karratha.
In partnership with the local community, the City of Karratha and technology and research partners, the Fortescue Future of Mobility Centre will leverage the Company’s success in using autonomous technology across its operations.
This will give FMG the ability to develop, test and trial this technology, further contributing to Western Australia’s position as a world leading autonomous hub.
For the City of Karratha, we can see we are now entering an exciting new phase of economic development and diversification. The City has invested millions of dollars into key infrastructure and amenity upgrades to activate our city centre and provide enhanced facilities and services to our residential and business communities as we strive towards our vision of becoming Australia’s most liveable regional city.
Thank you to Paul and Julie for this fantastic initiative. The City and Councillors appreciate greatly the investment FMG has put here in Karratha and wishes you the very best with its development and success