Innovation hub could create jobs and boost local economy by millions
18 Apr 2019
Establishing an eco-business park for innovative emerging industries has the potential to create more than 400 jobs and inject more than $200 million into the local economy, a report has found.
The proposed Eco Hub development involves 131ha of land adjacent to Karratha Airport dedicated to renewable enterprises with the aim of attracting new industries and diversifying the local economy.
A business case funded by the City that assessed the economic impact and return on investment of establishing the Eco Hub and reviewed the City’s role in the development was presented to Council this month.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said financial modelling found the project could create up to 406 jobs, contribute $241 million to the local economy and increase the Gross Regional Product by nearly $104 million.
“A number of high-tech renewable enterprises are looking to set up in Karratha so Council is investigating opportunities to create a collocated precinct to make this commercially viable for the proponents,” Cr Long said.
“Council’s role would be to facilitate the development by providing access to the land and basic infrastructure, such as roads and utilities.
“This development aligns with the City’s Strategic Community Plan, which aims to attract diverse and sustainable business and employment opportunities.”
The business case recommended the City purchase the full site and lease lots to prospective proponents, which include the Sahara Forest Project (SFP).
SFP completed a feasibility study last year that showed an intensive agriculture industry could be commercially viable to establish in Karratha.
The next step is to explore options to move forward with the Eco Hub project in a financially sustainable way.
Council will consider a budget allocation to progress the Eco Hub project in the 2019/20 budget.