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e-Newsletter April 2010

Jeff Kennett bound for South West 

What is former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett's vision for a prosperous and vibrant South West region?

Find out by attending the Critical Horizons Regional Futures Conference on June 2 and 3.

The event will feature presentations by 15 of Australia's leading experts and futurists including Dr Peter Ellyard.

Organised by the South West Development Commission and a committee of local leaders, the conference follows a similarly themed event that took place in 2007 and encouraged people to think about the future of the region.

South West Development Commission acting chief executive officer Graeme Baesjou said Critical Horizons events were designed to help maintain the region's competitive edge by building knowledge and encouraging innovation.

"These events are essential for putting world issues into a local context, giving people greater opportunity to consider global trends when planning or making decisions," he said.

"The conference is one of the biggest line-ups of its kind to be seen in Bunbury and the South West, and we encourage people to take up the opportunity to hear from these fascinating and thought provoking individuals."

The conference will be held at Bunbury's Edith Cowan University and include networking morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch sessions. A dinner will be held at Barbados on June 2.

People can register for the event by visiting www.criticalhorizons.com.au or phoning Alan Cross on 9792 2000. Tickets are $490 per person if the registration is made before April 12 or $560 per person if the registration is made after April 12. A limited number of concession tickets are available at $150.

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2010 Critical Horizons Regional Futures Conference

Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett will speak at the 2010 Critical Horizons Regional Futures Conference.

South West silicon giant begins expansion 

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls visited the South West on Tuesday April 6 to launch the first stage of a multi-million dollar expansion of silicon producer Simcoa's operations.

Mr Grylls joined Simcoa president Erv Schroeder and Simcoa vice president Jim Brosnan at Kemerton Industrial Park for a sod-turning ceremony to mark the commencement of construction of a third furnace at the site.

"Simcoa Operations is Australia's only producer of silicon, manufacturing more than 32,000 tonnes a year of high-quality product − 85 per cent of which is exported. The first stage of this project will allow the company to increase capacity by 50 per cent," Mr Grylls said.
 
"This will help Simcoa meet increasing demand for silicon, driven by the needs of the growing solar energy industry."
 
The Minister said the expansion of Simcoa's facilities was a significant project for the South West that would provide an economic boost for the region, with the first stage of the project valued at $120million.
 
"The first stage of the project will provide 120 jobs during construction as well as 40 new permanent positions at its expected completion in August 2011," he said.
 
"The second stage of the project will see the installation of a fourth furnace, doubling Simcoa's current capacity by the end of 2013."
 
Mr Grylls said the project had obtained all necessary Government and environmental approvals and could now proceed.
 
"The new furnaces will represent state-of-the-art silicon smelting technology and are designed to maintain Simcoa's reputation as the world's most energy efficient silicon producer," he said.

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Simcoa president Erv Schroeder, Simcoa vice president Jim Brosnan and Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls

Simcoa president Erv Schroeder, Simcoa vice president Jim Brosnan and Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls at the launch of Simcoa’s expansion.

Doing business with China 

Help is at hand for local people wanting to trade with China - and for citizens of Jiaxing intending to conduct business in the South West region of Australia.

Specially created offices in Bunbury and Jiaxing provide good starting points for people looking to trade between the sister cities and their regions.

Staff in the offices can assist prospective importers and exporters with communications and advice, while helping to facilitate trade opportunities.

The Bunbury-Jiaxing Business Office is located on the podium level of the Bunbury Tower and is complemented by its counterpart in the Jiaxing Foreign Economic and Trade Cooperation Bureau.

For more information about trading with China, contact the Bunbury-Jiaxing Business Office by phoning 9721 2922 or emailing bunbury-jiaxing@swdc.wa.gov.au

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The Jiaxing-Bunbury Office is located in Jiaxing, China

The Jiaxing-Bunbury Office is located in the Jiaxing Foreign Economic and Trade Cooperation Bureau building.

New sister cities proposed 

As Bunbury prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its sister city relationship with Jiaxing, steps are being taken to set up similar arrangements for other South West shires.

With the backing of the South West Development Commission, the shires of Manjimup and Augusta-Margaret River are exploring the idea of establishing their own sister cities.

If the proposals are officially endorsed, Manjimup would link up to the Chinese county of Jiashan and Margaret River would develop a friendship with Haining.

Jiashan and Manjimup share a common interest in the timber and agricultural industries, while Haining is a tourist hot spot thanks in part to the Qiantang River's spectacular tidal bore.

Increasing trade and tourism opportunities are expected to be two of the main benefits of the potential sister city relationships.

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Haining, China

Haining is being considered as a potential sister city for Margaret River.

New board member appointed 

The South West Development Commission has welcomed Busselton Shire president Ian Stubbs to its board of management.

Mr Stubbs joins the 10-member board as a local government representative.

He fills the position left vacant by former Capel Shire councillor Margaret Smith who did not stand for re-election at the most recent local government elections.

South West Development Commission acting chief executive officer Graeme Baesjou said Mr Stubbs brought more than four decades of experience in local government to the role and would be an asset to the board and the region.

"The board is the managing body responsible for setting the strategic direction and priorities of the Commission," he said.

"We are pleased Mr Stubbs has joined the board and will be able to play a role in leading the region into the future.

"He has much to offer and we look forward to working with him."

Mr Stubbs said he was delighted to be appointed to the board of the South West Development Commission.

"I am looking forward to working with other regional representatives to help to improve the way of life for all residents of the South West," he said.

"There are many important regional projects on the drawing board that I look forward to being involved with and hopefully seeing them progressed."

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Councillor Ian Stubbs

Busselton Shire president Ian Stubbs joins the SWDC board as a local government representative.

Uncorking India’s wine market 

Wine producers from the Pemberton and Margaret River areas are tapping into emerging markets in India and Nepal with help from the South West Development Commission.

Working with Austrade, the Commission recently held dinners and tastings in New Delhi, Mumbai and Kathmandu that showcased premium South West wines to a range of importers and discerning consumers.

South West Development Commission TradeStart export advisor Mat Lewis said the promotional events had been a success, with participating wineries viewing them as stepping stones to securing long-term business.

"Each of the wineries have returned back to Australia and are in the process of securing potential distributors," he said.

"The producers I have spoken to have been optimistic about generating sales in this burgeoning market."

South West wine producer Paul Omodei took part in the promotional trip to look for potential distributors of his Olde Eastbrook label and to source investors for his Pemberton vineyard.

"It was a good opportunity to open up the market for the primary producers of the South West of Western Australia," he said.

Mr Lewis said India offered numerous opportunities for South West wineries wanting to expand their markets.

"Though in its infancy, the Indian market has significant long-term potential and the premium growing regions are determined to make a presence in this market," he said.

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Paul Omodei from Olde Eastbrook Vineyard and Australian Trade Commissioner in New Delhi Michael Carter

Paul Omodei from Olde Eastbrook Vineyard and Australian Trade Commissioner in New Delhi Michael Carter at one of the recent promotional events.

Groups keen to share in Royalties funding 

South West organisations made more requests for funding through the Regional Grants Scheme than their counterparts in other regions of Western Australia.

A total of 165 applications had been received by the South West Development Commission by the close of the second round of the Royalties for Regions program on Wednesday February 10.

In the same funding round, the Kimberley received 95 applications, the Wheatbelt 75, Great Southern 73, Pilbara 68, Goldfields-Esperance 61, Mid-West 61, Peel 50 and Gascoyne 41.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls welcomed the tremendous response to the Liberal-National Government funding scheme that aims to benefit the region by attracting investment, increasing jobs and improving quality of life.

"A total of 689 applications, amounting to almost $106million in funding requests, has been received by the nine Regional Development Commissions," Mr Grylls said.

The Minister said the nine Development Commissions had $3.5million each to provide to projects through the Royalties for Regions Regional Grants Scheme.
 
"I commend the Development Commissions for their ongoing commitment to Royalties for Regions initiatives and look forward to the local communities enjoying the benefits from these projects," Mr Grylls said.

Successful applicants are expected to be announced by June 30.

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Royalties for Regions − South West Regional Grants Scheme

Starring role for school garden 

Margaret River Primary School's kitchen garden, which was established with help from a South West Development Commission grant, is set to make its national television debut.

The garden will star in an upcoming episode of Masterchef runner-up Poh Ling Yeow's new television show.

Poh teamed up with local celebrity chef Ian Parmenter to film scenes for Poh's Kitchen during a recent visit to Margaret River.

The show follows the culinary star as she travels around Australia, meeting leading chefs and adding to her ever increasing collection of recipes.

While at Margaret River Primary School, Poh planted a fruit tree and gathered produce for a dish that will be featured in the television show.  A segment on Margaret River's farmers market was also filmed.

The episodes will be screened on the ABC on April 28 and May 5.

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Celebrity chefs Poh Ling Yeow and Ian Parmenter at Margaret River Primary School

Celebrity chefs Poh Ling Yeow and Ian Parmenter recently filmed an episode of Poh’s Kitchen at Margaret River Primary School’s kitchen garden. The garden promotes healthy eating to students.

New boardwalk for Greenbushes Pool 

Royalties for Regions funding from the mining industry has begun to flow into the Greenbushes community with a $123,000 project to construct a boardwalk and interpretive signage at the Greenbushes Pool now underway.

The Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes applied for the funding in consultation with the Greenbushes Ratepayers and Residents Association as part of a management plan for the popular picnic spot.

Community volunteers, including members of the Greenbushes Ratepayers and Residents Association, are constructing the boardwalk with materials purchased using funding from the Royalties for Regions - South West Regional Grants Scheme.

Talison Minerals Greenbushes Operations is supporting the project by supplying raw materials, technical assistance and equipment.

The boardwalk, which circles the water's edge, features jarrah decking and gravel pathways.

Creating a trail around the pool and managing access to the water's edge will protect the quality of the water and the vegetation around the pool.

It is also expected to be an attraction for tourists and visitors, particularly people walking on the Greenbushes Loop Walk Trail which connects to the Bibbulmun Track. This trail passes directly through the pool picnic area.

The Greenbushes Pool is of great significance to the community and has been a popular recreation spot since the early 1900s when the town was in its infancy.

The pool was first used in the late 1800s as a water source for tin miners to process their minerals and in subsequent years was dredged for tin, but it was also valued as a picnic spot and swimming pool.

It was used for school swimming lessons up until the 1970s.

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New boardwalk and interpretive signage at Greenbushes Pool

Greenbushes Ratepayers and Residents Association spokesperson Pat Scallan inspects progress of the boardwalk around the Greenbushes Pool.

Finalist in information technology awards 

The South West Development Commission and City of Bunbury have been recognised for their work in developing an information technology hub in the South West.

They were named as a joint finalist in the regional category of the prestigious Western Australian IT and Telecommunications Awards.

The regional section of the awards recognises excellence in an information technology and telecommunications product, project or service provided by an individual or organisation servicing regional and country areas of WA.

South West Development Commission acting chief executive officer Graeme Baesjou said the Commission and the City were named in the awards for their work in establishing a world-class data centre in the new Bunbury library building.

"The infrastructure that was put in place in the development of the new library building was successful in attracting an international digital animation company to Bunbury," he said.

"Called the Australian Centre for Digital Animation (ACDI), the company specialises in the making of digital animation and special effects for the motion picture industry and involved the establishment of a super computing facility and special effects laboratory in Bunbury.

"It is sure to help Bunbury become known as a centre for excellence in information technology."

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SWDC infrastructure and technology officer Ashley Clements

South West Development Commission infrastructure and technology officer Ashley Clements was involved with the development of the data centre at the Bunbury library.

South West economy grows 

Did you know the South West region's Gross Regional Product was estimated at $11.3 billion for the 2008/09 financial year?

This represents an increase of 9.1 per cent on the previous year and an 80.7 per cent increase over the past five years.

The mining (22.5 per cent), construction (13.2 per cent) and manufacturing (10.8 per cent) industries were the main contributors to economic production in the region.

In terms of State production, the South West region accounted for 6.6 per cent of the Gross State Product.

For more statistical information about the South West region, please contact South West Development Commission research officer Matthew Monisse on 9792 2000.

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The South West region’s Gross Regional Product was estimated at $11.3 billion for the 2008/09 financial year

The South West region’s Gross Regional Product was estimated at $11.3 billion for the 2008/09 financial year.

Enjoy a gym workout in the park 

Working off extra kilos piled on over the Easter break was easy for Bridgetown residents, thanks to outdoor fitness equipment installed at a local park.

The equipment is free to use and makes it easy to combine a daily walk with cardio and strength-building activities.

People need only lace up their walking shoes and head to Somme Creek in Bridgetown to put their muscles to the test on a butterfly curl press or double elliptical cross trainer.

The project was an initiative of the South West Development Commission and Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes which worked together to bring the novel equipment to the area.

As part of the Commission's South West Community for Life strategy, grants have been provided to local government authorities across the region towards the purchasing of outdoor fitness equipment.

South West Development Commission acting chief executive officer Graeme Baesjou said the provision of outdoor gym equipment was a fantastic way to promote fitness and encourage people to adopt active and healthy lifestyle practices.

"As part of its South West Community for Life strategy, the Commission had been looking at ways to improve quality of life for people in the South West," he said.

"The outdoor gym project was one such initiative that came out of that strategy and we are pleased to see people are already making use of the equipment."

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Outdoor fitness equipment installed at Somme Creek in Bridgetown

SWDC regional coordinator Deanna Giumelli, Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes community development officer Lesa Boni and Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes chief executive officer Tim Clynch.

World-famous CowParade launched 

A herd of cows held the limelight in Margaret River on Sunday February 21 when Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls launched the internationally-acclaimed CowParade.
 
Mr Grylls said the event − featuring 85 artfully decorated fibreglass cows − would become a landmark on the local arts and tourism calendar and create great interest during the coming months.
 
"The CowParade has been held in more than 50 cities around the world including destinations such as Paris, Tokyo, London and New York. This is the first time it has been held in a regional centre of Australia," he said.

The international event saw artists challenged to transform life-sized fibreglass cows into pieces of art for display at local attractions.

"The dedication of the 77 local artists to the project, as well as the organisational skills of the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association and the South West Development Commission, was truly outstanding," the Minister said.
 
"I congratulate the foresight of the association and the Commission which, with many other supporters, have brought this fantastic event to the region.
 
"It is anticipated that CowParade Margaret River will be viewed by about 650,000 visitors between February and June this year."
 
Mr Grylls said $50,000 had been provided through the State Government's Royalties for Regions − South West Regional Grants Scheme for the event, which also received funding from other stakeholders.
 
"The CowParade is expected to inject about $25million into the local economy and raise funds for charities, including Telethon and the Starlight Foundation, when the cows are auctioned at the end of the season," he said.

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Margaret River Cow Parade

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls launched CowParade in Margaret River in February. The cows have since been drawing crowds, with many people flocking to have their photo taken with the beautiful bovines.

Event showcases sustainable initiatives 

Hot on the hooves of the launch of CowParade was Greening the Moo, a free family fun day held in Margaret River on the Labour Day weekend.

Proudly supported by the South West Development Commission in association with LandCorp, Greening the Moo was designed to showcase environmental initiatives being undertaken in the South West region.

The event was an opportunity for people to learn not just about the work being carried out by various groups and organisations, but also to obtain information on ways to reduce energy and water consumption.

Features of the day included appearances by renowned permaculture designer Dr Ross Mars, and stalls from local organic producers and conservation groups.

Activities which incorporated recycled materials included free children's arts and crafts classes, and workshops with percussion band Junkadelic.

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Greening the Mo, a free family fun day held in Margaret River

Erin Fisher from Busselton took time out to visit Margaret River for Greening the Moo, a fun family event which showcased sustainable initiatives in the South West.

Academy athletes achieve 

South West Academy of Sport basketball players have made their presence felt in State teams, with a large number of players chosen to represent country Western Australia at the Under 18 Australian Basketball Championships.

An impressive nine South West Academy of Sport players were snapped up for the country men's team, with only a player from Albany rounding out the 10-member side.

A further six players from the region - four of which are part of the SWAS program - were chosen for the country women's squad.

This follows the strong representation SWAS had at last year's Under 18 Australian Basketball Championships where 16 of the 20 players in the Western Australian country teams had scholarships with the academy.

SWAS head coach Steve Hawkins said the South West had provided the majority of players and all of the coaching and management roles for the country State Under 18 teams contesting the national championships at Terrigal in April.

"Once again the strength of the SWAS and Basketball South West development programs in the South West has provided most of the players in the Under 18 men's team," he said.

"While there were several players from the Peel area that were closely looked at for the men's team, the overall skill and knowledge of the South West players got them the nod for the team."

SWAS players in State Under 18 country women's team: Ellie Deighton, Dena English, Jess Cameron and Shannon McRobert. BSW prep players in the State Under 18 country women team: Brittany Gliddon and Abbie Fletcher.
      
SWAS players in State Under 18 country men's team: Damian Lee, Dylan Ness, Cory Richardson, Mitchell Thompson, Sam Fossati, Tom Fossati, James Goodlad, Tyler Hickert and Jesse Keller.

SWAS coaching and management staff playing a role in the State Under 18 country women's team: Treena Worthington (head coach), Russell Upton (assistant coach), Alex Kerr (development coach) and Mimma Upton (manager).

SWAS coaching and management staff playing a role in the State Under 18 country men's team: Steve Hawkins (head coach), Richard Keller (assistant coach), Nic Wright (development coach) and Faye Pisconeri (manager).

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South West Academy of Sport basketball players chosen to represent country Western Australia at the upcoming Under 18 Australian Basketball Championships

Tyler Hickert, along with Jesse Keller, Sam Fossati, Mitchell Thompson, James Goodlad, Cory Richardson, Tom Fossati, Dylan Ness and Jake Louthean, are set to represent country Western Australia at the Under 18 Australian Basketball Championships in April.

Premier art exhibition celebrates 21 years 

Where can you find a roomful of robots, a Venetian gondola and a car with paintings all over its engine?

At the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries as part of the South West Survey, the region's premier art exhibition.

The annual exhibition was launched on Saturday February 13 with a street party befitting its 21st year.

Guests at the opening were the first to peruse the exhibition, which boasts a high standard of works in a range of mediums.

Curators Dr David Bromfield and Dr Pippa Tandy visited almost 200 South West artists in their search for pieces for the exhibition, eventually settling on the creations of 67 artists.

"We drove more than 9000 kilometres in under three months, in search for the most interesting work for the show," Dr Tandy said.

"We found far more good work, of all kinds, than we could include in this exhibition. It was very difficult to make a choice."

The exhibition received funding through the first round of the Royalties for Regions - South West Regional Grants Scheme, which is administered by the South West Development Commission.

The 2010 South West Survey closes Sunday April 11.

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South West Survey, the region’s premier art exhibition

Royalties for Regions funding has helped the South West’s premier art exhibition, South West Survey, celebrate its 21st year. Pictured are curators Dr David Bromfield and Dr Pippa Tandy.

New beach wheelchairs for Bunbury 

Cooling off at the beach on a warm day is a popular activity for many local residents, but for people with disabilities getting to the water can be difficult.

That is why the South West Development Commission teamed up with a number of organisations to make beach wheelchairs available at popular Bunbury swimming spots.

The specially-designed Beach Trekker wheelchairs can be maneuvered over sand into water, making a visit to the beach a more accessible activity for people with mobility issues.

They were unveiled by Bunbury MLA John Castrilli at a launch at the Koombana Bay Sailing Club on Friday February 26.

"These wheelchairs are a fantastic addition to facilities in our community, and will give both local residents and visitors the chance to experience the joy and relaxation of spending time at the beach," he said.

"In addition to the recent opening of a holiday home in Bunbury for people with disabilities, the new wheelchairs will help make our local attractions more accessible to everyone."

"They are a wonderful asset to our community and my congratulations go to everyone involved in getting these state-of-the-art beach wheelchairs to Bunbury."

South West Development Commission acting chief executive officer Graeme Baesjou said the Commission had put $10,000 towards the project, which had been supported by Enable Southwest, City of Bunbury, South West Community Fundraisers, Disability Services Commission, Rotary's Sail into Life program and Koombana Bay Sailing Club.

"This project is part of the Commission's efforts to improve quality of life for the region's residents," he said.

"An outing to the beach on a warm day is something that can be taken for granted, but for people with mobility issues it can be difficult to move over the sand to get to the water.

"These beach wheelchairs − designed to be used with the assistance of a carer − can travel over paved or grassed areas, across soft loose beach sand and directly into the water.

"This project has been a real community effort and it's thanks to the groups involved that it has been made possible.

"The Commission has provided funding towards two wheelchairs and South West Community Fundraisers will be purchasing a third chair.

"The City of Bunbury and Rotary have carried out improvements to the Koombana Bay Sailing Club, which is where the equipment will be stored.

"Enable Southwest has put its hands up to manage bookings."

The beach wheelchairs are for use at Koombana Bay and Jetty Baths but requests to use them at other locations will be considered by Enable Southwest.

The beach wheelchairs are free to use and are available for hire seven days a week.

To make a booking, phone Enable Southwest on 9792 7500 during office hours on weekdays or visit the office at 42 Forrest Avenue, Bunbury.

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The specially-designed Beach Trekker wheelchairs can be maneuvered over sand into water, making a visit to the beach a more accessible activity for people with mobility issues

Bunbury MLA John Castrilli, pictured with supporters of the project, launched the new Beach Trekker wheelchairs in Bunbury.

BMX champ takes on world’s best riders 

After winning a record 10th State title in February, BMX star Lauren Reynolds would have been forgiven for taking a well-earned break from the track to celebrate her amazing achievement.

But instead of putting her feet up, the hard-working 2012 London Olympics hopeful spent the weeks after her triumphant turn at the State championships preparing for the first World Cup round of the year.

The Clifton Park resident and South West Academy of Sport scholarship holder flew out to Europe late last month to begin her 2010 World Cup campaign.

She competed in the first leg of the 2010 BMX Supercross World Cup in the Spanish capital of Madrid, before traveling to Switzerland for training at the World Cycling Centre.

While overseas, Reynolds is also scheduled to compete in a UCI event in France - and she is on track for success.

She beat Beijing Olympics athlete Nicole Callisto to the finish line at the recent State championships and notched up an array of feats in 2009. Her accomplishments last year included achieving a seventh world ranking, being named the 2009 Australian Junior BMX Cyclist of the Year and crowned the 2009 Australian Probike Series winner.

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South West Academy of Sport scholarship holder Lauren Reynolds

South West Academy of Sport scholarship holder Lauren Reynolds is on track for success.