Developing a diverse and competitive small to medium business sector is crucial to achieving sustainable economic growth and providing a diversity of career choices for Pilbara residents. Without the smaller businesses that perhaps only add to minimal services or lifestyle niches, it provides a happier place to live.
A Fitness instructor or Hairdresser may not work directly with the big companies, but catering to the people themselves, ensures they have a happier place to live. Small business is essential to the functioning of any economy and developing a competitive and diverse small and medium business sector is important for providing diverse career choices for Pilbara residents and critical in achieving sustainable economic growth. A healthy small and medium business sector will provide numerous employment opportunities and career choices for local residents. These residents may not have been employable by the larger corporations operating in the region, so the small and medium business sector provides them with employment opportunities, which, in turn, stimulates economic growth within the region. In the Pilbara the small and medium business sector is growing and as new opportunities for small business entrepreneurs and innovators arise in the coming years, new and diverse employment opportunities will be created.
As the Pilbara region’s population continues to grow, commercial space becomes more readily available and the costs associated with operating a business in the Pilbara gradually continue to normalise, many more opportunities for entrepreneurship are manifesting which is resulting in a more diverse and robust small to medium enterprise sector.
The growth of the small the medium enterprise sector in the Pilbara is potentially going to foster greater collaboration and innovation, increase competition regionally and providing new and diverse employment opportunities. These new opportunities eventually lead to greater economic growth within the region, which fosters even further opportunities down the line. Mining, however, still remains the leading industry in the Pilbara and greatest economic contributor in the region. With rich mineral resources throughout the region the opportunities for new mining exploration projects are countless. Moreover, the Pilbara sits on the cusp of Asia, making access to Asian markets easier both physically, through major ports and airports, as well as business relationships and networks possible. The Pilbara truly is a globally recognised export hub.
The Pilbara's economy is dominated by mining exports and the petroleum export industries. The mining industry sector is the greatest contributor to economic output in the Pilbara region. At $48.9 billion it accounts for 72.53% of total output.
It is also the largest employer, representing 45.66% of total employment within the region. That’s 29,151 jobs! Strong investment links with Asia mean that the Pilbara is globally recognised as an export hub through major airports and ports as well as networks and business relationships. The Pilbara’s rich mineral resources are a key regional asset and attract business globally.For global investors there is a sense of achievement when partnering with the likes of Rio Tinto, FMG, BHP or Woodside. It is not an easy process and their standards are high. But once accepted, then the opportunities are endless. Deals are made every day between different mining groups, investors and contractors. For example, in November 2019 Rio Tinto awarded Monadelphous group a $100 million contract for fixed plant maintenance services. The contract extended a 25-year working relationship between the two companies. Mining companies frequently source contractors to complete work on the mine site such as making modifications to the existing plant and site, installing mechanical and electrical instrumentation and providing mechanical and electrical maintenance. These contracts are worth a lot of money and generally the mining company will pick a contractor that they have a good working relationship with already. Big deals like these are made everyday in the Pilbara whether it is between foreign investors and mining giants or mining companies and contractors.
The Pilbara is Western Australia's second most northern region, defined by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Northern Territory border to the east. The Kimberley Region lies to its north across the Great Sandy Desert and the Pilbara's southern reaches border the Gascoyne, Mid West and Goldfields-Esperance regions. The region covers a total area of 507,896km² (including offshore islands)
The population of the Pilbara is estimated to be 59,894 usual residents (2011 Census). Most of the inhabitants of the Pilbara are located in the western third of the region, whereas the eastern third is largely desert with few inhabitants. The Pilbara has four local government areas - the City of Karratha, Shires of Ashburton and East Pilbara and the Town of Port Hedland. The major towns of the region are Port Hedland and Karratha. Other towns are Roebourne, Dampier, Onslow, Pannawonica, Paraburdoo, Tom Price, Wickham, Newman, Marble Bar and Nullagine.
The Pilbara is economically significant, both nationally and internationally, as the region is responsible for a major portion of the production, value, exports and investments of extraction industries commodities, particularly iron ore and liquefied natural gas (LNG). In November 2009 the Western Australian Government announced The Pilbara Cities initiative, offering a clear mandate for investment in the Pilbara by committing to a $1.2 billion Pilbara Cities Vision that was formally enacted through legislation in December 2009. Early projects led by this government catalyst have started a fundamental transformation of the look of the major townships and extensive planning is now in place to deliver regional cities and major regional centres throughout the Pilbara. In addition to the immense reserves of natural resources, tourism, agriculture, fishing and aquaculture all feature prominently in the strengths and opportunities in the Region.