In his first Port Hedland appearance as Premier, Roger Cook made a visit to the Spoilbank Marina construction site but placed considerable attention on how to address the town’s social issues. On Wednesday, July 26, Mr Cook along with Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel, Ports Minister David Michael and Port Hedland mayor Peter Carter visited the town’s marquee marina project. The appearance marked the first time Mr Cook had visited Hedland as Premier and although he was there to celebrate the start of landside construction on the marina, Mr Cook said investment was needed to address the social issues in Port Hedland. “Every community is struggling at the moment to deal with the complex social issues which impact on them and that’s more keenly felt in the regions than it is in other parts of the world,” he said. “So we need to continue to make sure we’re investing in the programs, particularly programs like Target 120, (to) make sure that we have safe spaces for kids. “And continue to make sure that we invest in those sorts of social services like education, make sure our schools are great places to be so that we continue to give kids the best possible start in life.” Mr Cook did not reveal if there was a review of the social services available in Port Hedland but said his Government was focused on cost-of-living relief as a way to ease people’s struggles. “We continually look at these things,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the impact of social media, the impact on youth mental health issues, or the complexities and the struggles that a lot of families are under, we need to continue to make sure we invest in programs so that people have the confidence that there’s someone to turn to when times get tough. “And we understand that a lot of people in the community are struggling at the moment, which is the reason why we’re doing everything we can, particularly around helping people with dealing with the cost of living.” The median rent and house price in Port Hedland is $1100 a week and $725,000 respectively compared to Perth which is $575 per week and $555,000 according to the latest REIWA figures. The purpose of the trip was to visit the Spoilbank Marina and Mr Michael said the port showed that large infrastructure projects weren’t always pipedreams. “I know there are projects like this on a map, or on a council plan, spoken about in the local community that never come to fruition,” he said. “That sit there for decades and decades, they get spoken about in coffee shops and in bars and in local community groups but never happen. “To see that this one has got off the ground and is on its way to completition is a very proud moment for the people in Port Hedland but also for the State Government.” The marina is a long-held aspiration of the Hedland community dating back to the 1980s, with plans for the project beginning in 2012 before the project was revised in 2017 and a master plan finalised two years later. Landside construction on the marina is expected to be completed in 2024.