Article – Enterprise zone push

25 March 2015
The West Australian
The Pilbara Regional Council believes Australia’s first special enterprise zone should be created in Hedland around the proposed Lumsden Point port development.
Under plans before the State Government, the PRC hoped to attract large logistics and marine services companies to set up in Hedland by creating the Pilbara Enterprise Zone in a business park surrounding the multi-user cargo berth at Lumsden Point.
The zone could provide incentives, ranging from reduced indirect taxes and lowering of customs duties to exemption from payroll tax within the zone.
But PRC chief executive Tony Friday said even more important than possible financial breaks were streamlined approvals.
He said if the zone had a one-stop approvals process it would likely attract a large number of foreign businesses, who were keen to invest in WA but currently put off by the State’s complicated regulations.
“Businesses have told us they want investment stability as a priority,” Mr Friday said.
The PRC’s backing comes as a major coup for the Town of Port Hedland after speculation it had been locked in fierce competition with the City of Karratha to host the enterprise zone.
Town staff believe the project could play a key role in helping Hedland fulfil the Pilbara Cities vision of growing into a city of 50,000 people with a diversified economy.
Town manager of economic development and strategy David Westbury said in his report to the council, the zone could attract large investments by businesses in transport and logistics, marine construction and support services and even new unplanned industries. He said the zone would also likely operate under private management like successful models abroad.
This could favour a large global company, such as a logistics giant, which in return for legislative support would seek to attract other support industries into the business park to support its own operations.
Eager to back the project, the Town has asked councillors to tonight vote in support of creating the enterprise zone at Lumsden Point and even expand it to include the airport, Boodarie Industrial Estate and Kingsford Smith Business Park.
Mr Friday, meanwhile, warned there was still plenty of hard work ahead to gain State Government support for the enterprise zone but said, if successful, it could help maintain the Pilbara as one of Australia’s leading investment destinations.
Courtesy of the West Australian