Member for North West Central, Vince Catania has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to allocate $140 million through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for the construction of the Hastings Yangibana rare earth project in the Gascoyne region.
Vince said “I’ve been lobbying the Federal Government to assist the Hastings Yangibana project with NAIF funding opportunities, a critical Government lever in driving economic development and jobs in the North.
“This is a golden opportunity for Carnarvon and Gascoyne Junction to not only support the Hastings operation located 250 km north-east of Carnarvon and around 150km north-east of Gascoyne Junction, but to grow, develop and further strengthen the prosperity of our local businesses, towns and region.
“With the prospect of around 30-40 jobs in Onslow and another 250 permanent jobs being created we need to ensure our Gascoyne region capitalises on this opportunity, catering for a residential workforce based in both Carnarvon, Gascoyne Junction and Onslow – not FIFO roles from Perth.
“A residential workforce in the Gascoyne could boost our population by 500 people or more across towns and not only provide many locals with job opportunities but a huge boost to businesses and our communities in general, including our State’s economy,” he said.
Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce & Industry President, Paul Dixon said “The Yangibana project has already been utilizing the services of local businesses and contractors so this announcement should now provide an increased level of confidence for people and businesses to invest in Carnarvon and the region.”
Vince said “Gascoyne Junction strategically located 168km from Carnarvon, is ripe for development to support both the Hastings Project and a growing tourism industry, drawn by rich heritage and natural icons such as Mt Augustus and the Kennedy Ranges.”
Gascoyne Junction Shire CEO, John McCleary said “this is an enormous opportunity for our town and the region, and one the State just can’t afford to miss, providing a platform for both Gascoyne Junction and Carnarvon to take a quantum leap in terms of the development and growth of our towns and the region.”
Vince said “in terms of regional growth and development, the potential to support the Hastings project with infrastructure in both Gascoyne Junction and Carnarvon, the regional centre, is not only a game changer but is critical.”
“The State Government now needs to invest in our towns to be able to maximise these opportunities with some of the drivers being:
• Upgrades to sewerage and water infrastructure to allow land to be developed to cater for a FIFO workforce
based in Carnarvon
• Expansion of Day-Care services in Carnarvon
• Alternative water source to support growth in Gascoyne Junction.
• Telstra – 4G at Gascoyne Junction to mention a few.
“This opportunity highlights the importance of Carnarvon being returned as the Regional Centre for the Gascoyne again, not part of the Midwest with Government management based in Geraldton, as this project will grow Carnarvon and the Gascoyne.
“I call on the State Government to acknowledge the significance of this opportunity for the region and the State, and to work with the Shires of Upper Gascoyne and Carnarvon to ensure this opportunity is not missed,” he said.