A few years ago, I along with many others were fortunate to meet with a group of international investment bankers who were visiting the West Kimberley to look for potential investment opportunities. At that gathering the leader of the visitors asked the assembled locals an interesting hypothetical question along these lines; “I have $500 million in my back pocket that I want to invest in some new projects in the West Kimberley. I am looking for a reasonable return on my money, I am happy to wait, and I want to do some good for the community. What projects should I invest in?”
For far too long there was stunned silence as everyone turned to everyone else thinking they might respond with a list of well thought out practical projects. Eventually a few brave souls cobbled together a few quick suggestions as to how they might invest their money.
A few weeks ago, I attended the “Energize the Kimberley” conference held here in Broome. The keynote speaker, Deirdre Wilmot, one of the most respected business figures in Australia, raised a similar issue in terms of regional development. She reminded everyone that capital and investment dollars are scarce, very mobile and there is always strong competition for those funds whether from government or the private sector. Ms Wilmot’s key message was that every region should clearly identify, agree and advocate continuously for the five big projects that that could help transform their local economy and region.
We already have two big projects very close to commencing construction, the $100 million Kimberley Marine Supply Base and Sheffield Resources $500 million Thunderbird mineral sands project. These projects are committed to maximising local employment and procurement and will help drive our local economy.
So, the question is……………What should be the five big projects for our area?
Given the small scale of our local economy, our “big” projects might be relatively small and could focus as much on their transformative economic and social benefits rather than size.
What are the key business opportunities, enabling infrastructure, services, community tourism or environmental projects that Broome and the West Kimberley should seek to attract over the next few years?
Please take the time to think about what these transformative projects might be and complete the survey form below. Your ideas are important.
The BCCI will confidentially collate the individual responses and put together a matrix of those potential opportunities.
Once we have collated the results, we will share with our members for feedback and further comment.