Port of Port Hedland grows WA economy

23 April, 2024

A recent study titled ‘The Economic Significance of the Port of Port Hedland’ reveals the substantial role played by the port in driving economic growth and employment opportunities.

The report was commissioned by the Port Hedland Industries Council (PHIC) and conducted by ACIL Allen.

It highlights that in the 2022–23 financial year (FY23), the Port of Port Hedland sustained one in every nine full-time jobs in Australia.

The port’s operations and the trade it facilitated contributed a staggering $103 billion to Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) during FY23. Additionally, the newly established Lumsden Point General Cargo Facility, securing contracts with Mineral Resources (MinRes) and Pilbara Minerals, is projected to inject $22.6 billion into Australia’s GDP over the next decade, commencing from FY24. This initiative is expected to foster economic diversification and promote decarbonisation in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Furthermore, the report highlights the significant contribution of the Port of Port Hedland to the local economy. In FY23, it contributed $2.01 billion to Port Hedland’s gross regional product. With $678 million in direct economic activity supporting an additional $1.33 billion in indirect economic activity. This influx of economic activity resulted in a $1.02 billion increase in local income and supported 8,158 direct and indirect full-time jobs.

In Pilbara region, the Port contributed $63.3 billion to the gross product. It also supported 22,487 direct and indirect full-time jobs and generated $3.1 billion in incomes.

State-wide, the Port of Port Hedland significantly bolstered Western Australia’s economy. It contributed nearly $91 billion, equivalent to over 20% of the gross state product. This contribution translated into approximately $16 billion in increased incomes and the creation or support of 126,000 full-time jobs. It also added approximately $6 billion in taxes and royalties paid to the state government.

Kirsty Danby, CEO of PHIC, underscores the far-reaching impact of the port’s activities, emphasising that it is responsible for one in every nine full-time jobs in Western Australia. 

“The report reflects that the benefit of the hard work of Port Hedland, PHIC members and the resource sector flows well beyond the Pilbara,” PHIC chief executive officer Kirsty Danby said.

“The one figure which encapsulates that economic might is that the Port and its supply chain is responsible for one in every nine full time jobs in WA. It is vital that our resources sector continues to be supported to ensure it remains internationally competitive so that the benefits continue to flow across the nation.”

The report’s findings were based on contributions from PHIC members, including Pilbara Ports, BHP, Fortescue, Roy Hill, MinRes, Pilbara Minerals, and Consolidated Minerals, as well as publicly available information from Atlas Iron, Rio Tinto (Dampier Salt), Newcrest Mining, and Element 25.

Looking ahead, the Port of Port Hedland and the Lumsden Point supply chain are expected to play an even more significant role. It is anticipated to support over 200,000 jobs and deliver $851.4 billion in gross product over the next decade until 2032–33.