Welcome to 2021! While many of us are away on a well-earned holiday, thank you to those still keeping the wheels of industry turning. We in the Pilbara handled the pandemic well, with our major companies going to extraordinary lengths to ensure the mines kept exporting and the gas still flowing. We have our natural advantages of remoteness and isolation, of course, but the work done by Rio Tinto and Woodside here in Karratha was remarkable – as was that of our local government. Our city led the way in developing new initiatives, later emulated by others, which kept our people, safe and many employed. Our 107 projects are still going strong and the State Government’s housing stimulus has enlivened our property market, as it has with others across the State.
COVID-19 showed clearly how important the regions are to both the economy of our country, but also the well-being of our people. I often quote the ca $150 billion of exports the half-a-million people in the regions contribute to the WA State economy – a figure which dwarfs the contribution by the 2 million in Perth. But the advantages of fresh air, community, time and well-being – let alone the relative freedom from infection – has caused movement back to the country and consequently property prices to surge in towns and cities across the State. Karratha is no exception, but we have the added advantages of massive employment opportunities and a range of new projects. 2021 for us will be huge.
A new year is always an opportunity for new beginnings, new resolutions, and if there is one thing that 2020 taught us, it is the importance of each other. While we in the antipodes have been extremely lucky to have been able to cut ourselves off from the virus which is taking such a terrible toll in Europe, America and elsewhere around the world, our own restrictions have still caused heartache and depression to many locked in lonely isolation away from friends and family. In the end it is our families and our friends, our communities and each other that are important in this world: COVID certainly showed us that.
My hope for 2021 is that our world will become fairer, that we take a big step away from armed conflict, and that we each realise the importance of our own hard work and responsibilities to each other.
Welcome to 2021: we are set for another important but amazing year.