Pilbara Development Commission Acting CEO, Terry Hill discusses the importance of diversification for communities in Northern Australia. We look forward to hearing from Mr Hill at the Developing Northern Australia Conference where he will present a keynote presentation.

Article originally published by ABC Rural by  Tyne McConnon

Mining focused communities are now looking to industries like agriculture to secure their financial future.

Thousands of redundancies across the mining sector are starting to have their effect on regional towns across Australia

Falling commodity prices, particularly in iron ore, and the industry’s move from a construction phase to production have led to significant staff cuts.

However, communities in Western Australia’s Pilbara are staying positive by looking at other industries to keep them afloat.

William Whitham, the manager of the North West and Kimberley Chamber of Minerals and Energy, said it was all about diversifying incomes.

“We are looking for a bit of diversification. We hear a lot of great stories about agriculture and other things that are happening and we are very much in support of that, getting people to transition out of those resource jobs or construction jobs either into operations or into another industry like agriculture,” Mr Whitham said.

For those who wanted to stay in the mining industry, it was about retraining them for different roles.

“There’s a lot of work being done now where people have been working on construction and they are going back and getting retrained. It’s getting people away from construction roles into operation roles,” he said.

Agriculture is not the only industry, however. Aquaculture and the pastoral industry also play important roles.

Acting CEO of the Pilbara Development Commission, Terry Hill, said the important thing was to have different incomes coming into one community.

“I guess a key role for us is to think, to plan and to work through what those options are for a more diversified economy,” he said.

“The more diversified the economy is, then when you have a change in one sector of the economy it’s hopefully buffered by the other sectors.”

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