“That’s what’s happening. It’s becoming a better place to live”

06 July, 2016

I think it has allowed [our town] to be seen not just as another mining town. The [RfR project] has allowed us to have a competitive advantage to encourage people to actually stay here for more than their two or five year plan.

l think, you know, [other big towns in the Pilbara] they are often at a competitive advantage... in the past, in terms of trying to source staff, we just couldn’t compete just because of the numbers of people in other big Pilbara towns...Now, we’re certainly in the game. We have a lot to offer potential new employees and new residents. If we could just crack the housing market, which is still a big issue.

[In the past] people certainly knew about [our town]. With all the 60 Minutes reports. It was in the week-end papers. It was still seen as a bit of an outback destination that people work hard, play hard and they’re there to chase the money. Now I think when people come to [our town] they’re pleasantly surprised because as soon as they get here, the airport is so welcoming, the greenery in the town, the infrastructure, the parks, the added-on infrastructure that’s happened as a result of royalties. You find other buildings have come along that are very modern and other infrastructure that’s come along that’s very modern.

I mean you look at the new sports pavilion. It’s got nothing to do with the royalties. It’s actually through Shire funding and also some funding we received from the Pilbara Development Commission. The Royalties for Regions has allowed [others to make improvements too]...it’s a bit like the whale shark, you got all these little fishes that swim with the big fat whale shark, you know others that come along with it...

I think [RfR has] opened everybody’s eyes up that genuinely we can be a part of this. I would even go as far as to say that there’s a little bit more community pride as well, yes, just with the way people look after their lawns. We’re certainly very busy with our rubbish collection run...these sorts of projects have that ‘trickledown’ effect. I think it’s good. It’s that sense of place. That’s what’s emerging, that sense of “yes, I live in [this town] and I’m pretty proud”.

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