Mid West Major Projects Update: Women & Oakajee key to region

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Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
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Chamber of Minerals and Energy’s Susan Cull, City of Greater Geraldton’s Trish Palmonari and Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
Camera IconChamber of Minerals and Energy’s Susan Cull, City of Greater Geraldton’s Trish Palmonari and Minister Alannah MacTiernan. Credit: Geraldton Guardian/Elise Van Aken

All eyes were on Geraldton this week as the State’s biggest primary industry players descended on the city for the Mid West Major Projects Update conference, with the outlook of the region’s most embattled development site looking the best it ever has.

Heading the program was a front of women from leading stakeholders, including City of Greater Geraldton economic development manager Trish Palmonari, who chaired the first day of the conference on Wednesday, Chamber of Minerals and Energy State manager for regional WA Susan Cull and keynote speaker, Minister for Regional Development, Hydrogen Industry and Agriculture and Food Alannah MacTiernan.

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The second day of the conference was chaired by PwC corporate energy and resources partner Clare Pope.

In addition, 11 female delegates participated in the conference including Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Joanne Fabling and Mid West Development Commission acting CEO Anne Finlay.

Ms Finlay said she felt honoured to be part of a network of “amazing” women in leadership roles in government and industry in the Mid West, including working directly with the minister, the locally based conference participants and local MPs Lara Dalton and Sandra Carr.

“Women recognise the strength and competitive advantage of working with diversity and partnering with others to extend our reach and capacity,” she said.

“In the Mid West in particular, women are well connected and enjoy working collaboratively. We work well together and know how to get things done.”

Women recognise the strength and competitive advantage of working with diversity and partnering with others to extend our reach and capacity.

- Mid West Development Commission acting CEO Anne Finlay

The development of the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area was cautiously referred to as the “O word” in acknowledgement of the public’s fatigue over the long-promised project.

Many players in the market detailed their plans not only to create and export hydrogen from the Mid West but also to use it to power local operations including urea production at Strike Energy’s Project Haber in Narngulu.

Customer-driven sustainability was at the forefront of the vast majority of projects, especially for upcoming generations concerned about climate change.

“For the amount of teenagers there are putting pressure on their parents who work in the industry, there are so many beyond that wanting attention to climate change,” Strike Energy chief development officer Crispin Collier told delegates.

Pit Crew Management Consulting Services managing director Peter Dyball said: “The resources sector doesn’t resonate with the younger generation coming through the workforce.”

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