Port liftseconomic prospects

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
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More than 86,000 jobs and $30 billion in revenue for the Australian economy comes from the Port Hedland port, a study reveals.

Described as a landmark study and commissioned by the Port Hedland Industries Council, the document examines the growth opportunities for the local, State and national economies from the port over the next 10 years.

The study revealed the port accounted for 45 per cent of the economic output produced in the Pilbara region for the 2015-16 financial year, and supported almost half of the total employment for the region.

PHIC executive director John Verbeek said the report was important to the future development of the port.

“Because this focusses on the entire supply chain of the port of Port Hedland, it’s not just about the individual companies, it’s about all other businesses, small and medium enterprises,” he said.

“The data shows the combination of all of the business people working together and what it means to the national, State and local economies.

“The future of the Port Hedland port is very exciting, it needs to be done in a balanced approach that takes into consideration the needs and issues of the community.”

Prepared by ACIL Allen Consulting, the report found for every 20 full-time jobs in the State, there was one full-time job generated by the port with a potential boost of 5377 full-time jobs across Australia per annum.

ACIL Allen Consulting executive director, John Nicolaou said the report provided context to the importance of the Port Hedland port.

“This study is the first of its kind in trying to quantify the economic contribution that the Port Hedland port provides to the town, the State and to Australia as a whole,” he said.

“What the report provides is a base level of understanding ... over time what this report will do is enhance the understanding of how other industries and activities may use the port over time and further enhance the economy.”

Mr Nicolaou highlighted the real taxation and royalties the port generates, with a potential $21 billion increase in tax revenue across Australia and $5 billion potential increase across WA.

“To put it into context that annual number far exceeds the current deficit the State Government has,” he said.

“What I certainly see is really clear evidence promoting growth in the industry and economy has significant financial dividends for the State Government and is by far the most effective tool for the Government to improve the Budget position.“

The study focussed on the future of iron ore growth at the port, from the combined income, expenditure and employment of BHP, Fortescue Metals Group, Roy Hill, Pilbara Ports Authority, Atlas Iron and Mineral Resources, which the report dubbed the “supply chain”.

These companies created $26.4 billion in the total economic contribution to the WA economy — almost as much as the State’s entire construction industry in the 2015-16 financial year.

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