Upper House MP Stephen Dawson praised the resources industry and raised his glass to the Pilbara last week as he briefed Port Hedland residents on the 2021-2022 State Budget, saying the economic welfare of WA would look “very different” without the mining town. It comes as the Pilbara reaps the rewards of the State’s history-making $5.6 billion surplus on the back of strong iron ore prices with significant contributions to make regional airfares cheaper, increase staff in hospitals and ensure the preservation of First Nation’s culture. Despite this, the State continues to tighten the purse strings on Hedland Senior High school, offering no additional funding on top of the $15 million announced as part of Royalties for Regions. But Mr Dawson said it was clear the State Budget hinged on the contributions on the resources industry. “It’s undeniable that the nation’s wealth hinges on Port Hedland and the Pilbara, that’s why we are very focused on making sure regional WA gets it’s fair share,” he said. “Even on a Federal level, the economy is predicated on the town and the resources industry.” “So, cheers to Port Hedland and the Pilbara.” “When COVID-19 hit, the Premier was very certain that he wanted to keep the mines open and we made sure that the mines kept running and that’s why we can have the freedoms we have now.” Mr Dawson said Hedland could expect contributions to its struggling health sector with more nurses stationed at Hedland Health Campus. Investments in education will see the Government deliver $5.5 million to Baynton West Primary and $4.5 million to Cassia Primary for new classroom blocks, $3.5 million to expand Baler Primary and $1 million to upgrade air conditioning and refurbish Dampier Primary’s music hall. Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said he was proud to deliver long-awaited projects local Pilbara residents want to see. “The 2021-2022 State Budget ensures the Pilbara remains prosperous with a focus on creating local jobs, improving local infrastructure, and health and education services,” he said. “The Pilbara is the engine room of Australia and I am proud that the McGowan Government recognises this with the huge investments in jobs, health, education, training, roads and other services across our region in this Budget. “I think it is fair to say that the McGowan Labor Government’s strong leadership through the COVID pandemic means that the rest of the nation owes us a beer.” Other key announcements include $785,000 for a women and newborn health service program delivered by Karratha’s Women’s Place, $14.8 million for a South Hedland step-up, step-down facility and $250,000 available for regional projects through the Regional Economic Development grants.