Speech by Mayor Peter Long
Your Excellency, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you here to the City of Karratha for your Pilbara Tour. It is a privilege and an honour to have you in our wonderful City and I have no doubt that you will see and experience some remarkable things over the next few days.
The City of Karratha has a long and vibrant history. The traditional owners of this land have called Karratha and its surrounds home for more than 30,000 years and their rich culture and heritage is evident to this day at sacred sites like the Burrup Peninsular – which you will have a chance to see on this trip. And just this week we have been commemorating 150 years of settlement in Roebourne – the oldest town between Geraldton and Darwin. Early settlers risked their entire fortunes, faced enormous challenges and hardships in the hope of a better life in the north-west.
But we have come a long way since the early days of pearling and pastoralism. Over the past decade we have seen unprecedented growth fuelled by strong demand in natural resources. The Pilbara produces 55% of WA’s minerals and petroleum and as such has contributed an enormous amount to the State and national economies. Today the City of Karratha has a gross regional product of $27 billion making it the 5th largest local government in Australia by economic output. Our population has increased in size and we have transitioned from a small town with little in the way of public services and amenity, into a fully-fledged City with facilities that equal the best in regional cities across the Country.
We have invested millions into facilitating economic growth and enhancing the standard of our facilities and services for the community. This fantastic complex for example, Karratha Leisureplex, has been a game changer for residents. And there’s more to come as we finalise our city centre transformation with the addition of a new state of the art, Arts and Community Precinct with theatre, library and events spaces as well as additional facilities for.
There are few places with so much to look forward to as Karratha. Our position as the engine room of Australia’s economy is unquestioned. But just as we moved from pearling to iron ore and then added LNG, we have a world of opportunities for new industries in our area.
The natural beauty of our region, whether it be the beautiful Dampier Archipelago, the historic buildings of Roebourne and Cossack, the National Parks of Millstream and Karijini and the remarkable Murujuga National Park, offer unparalleled opportunities and gives us the basis for a great tourism industry. There’s opportunities in more solar, agriculture and aquaculture projects; bio fuels and a whole host of innovative industries that will keep our city growing and thriving.
Our future is indeed bright.
With that I would like to raise a toast, and officially welcome your Excellency to the City of Karratha. On behalf of the Councilors and Staff I hope you have a wonderful trip and enjoy the experiences of the next few days.