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e-Newsletter January 2011

Welcome to a new year 

The new year brings with it a fresh start and many people are busy planning for the 12 months ahead.

And while it is timely to look to the future, it is also a good opportunity to pause and reflect on the year that was.

For the South West Development Commission, 2010 was a productive year in which we achieved a great deal for the region.

From promoting trade partnerships at events such as the Indulgence food and wine festival in Bangalore, to highlighting the infrastructure needs of the South West in the Roads to Export report, the SWDC was kept busy in 2010.

As for the months ahead, we too are planning for the future - read on to find out how.

- Don Punch, CEO, South West Development Commission

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Don Punch

Don Punch

Planning for the future 

The South West Development Commission is planning for the future of the South West region.

We are working with government agencies and other organisations to identify and support projects that will make the South West an even better place to live, work and invest.

Enhanced mobile phone coverage to improve public safety along the region's highways, and the expansion of the Busselton airport to accommodate national and international flight services are just two of the projects SWDC is either driving or supporting.

To find out more about how SWDC is shaping the South West, visit the strategic planning section of our website. Here you will find documents such as the SWDC Strategic Plan 2010 - 2025, South West Action Statement and Roads to Export.

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The South West Development Commission’s recently updated Strategic Plan is now available to download.

The South West Development Commission’s recently updated Strategic Plan is now available to download.

Bushfire warning system trial 

In the interest of alerting people to emergency situations and potentially saving lives, the South West Development Commission is supporting the trial of a new bushfire system.

We have provided a grant of $95,000 to enable a trial of the Sentinel Alert emergency warning system, developed by Yallingup man Ray Datodi, to take place in the Shire of Nannup this summer.

The system uses a unique combination of satellite and wireless technologies to activate individual household alarms encoded with GPS.

The trial in the Shire of Nannup will complement a similar SWDC-supported test set to take place in Yallingup, and follows a small-scale, proof-of-concept assessment which was carried out in March with the practical assistance of the SWDC.

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A sneak peek of the Sentinel Alert alarm.

A sneak peek of the Sentinel Alert alarm.

Sun, sand and Ceberano 

Don't miss the chance to see Kate Ceberano perform at the official opening of the refurbished Busselton Jetty.

The award-winning singer and songwriter will head the line-up of entertainment at the event that has been organised to mark this historic occasion.

With the assistance of a $10,000 grant from the South West Development Commission, the iconic jetty will reopen in spectacular fashion with the Busselton Jetty Fiesta on February 5.

The event will be officially opened by Premier Colin Barnett and include a fireworks show, performance by Ceberano, plus family entertainment, fun activities for children, and food stalls.

We have long been a supporter of the Busselton Jetty refurbishment, and in addition to providing funding for the Fiesta, we administered the State Government's $24million contribution to the restoration project.

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Kate Ceberano will perform at the Busselton Jetty Fiesta.

Kate Ceberano will perform at the Busselton Jetty Fiesta.

Developing the tourism potential of the region 

In recognition of the important contribution tourism makes to the South West economy and following the closure of Tourism WA's South West office in Bunbury, the South West Development Commission has ramped up its focus on tourism.

We have begun working on a series of initiatives that will help develop the potential of the industry in the region.

To start with, we increased the funding available through our South West Events Program from $70,000 to $100,000, and recently allocated grants to 39 events through this refreshed funding scheme.

We have also started putting together a tourism subcommittee which will report to the SWDC Board on tourism development matters, with the view to attracting more people to the region.

And we are working towards the development of a strategic tourism plan which will guide tourism priorities and opportunities.

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Tourism is important to the South West’s economy. Photo courtesy Tourism Western Australia.

Tourism is important to the South West’s economy. Photo courtesy Tourism Western Australia.

Get set for adventure 

Plans are underway to help create Western Australia's first high wire adventure park at Yallingup, with help from funding from the South West Development Commission.

We recently allocated two grants totaling more than $25,000 to assist the Geographe Bay Tourism Association with planning for a proposed adventure park at Ngilgi Cave.

Already known for its underground tours, the expansion would add an exciting new dimension to the popular tourist attraction.

New features would include a zip line that would send people soaring over the ancient wonder, as well as rope courses.

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Funding from the South West Development Commission will help with planning for a proposed adventure park at Ngilgi Cave.

Funding from the South West Development Commission will help with planning for a proposed adventure park at Ngilgi Cave.

Governor of Western Australia visits region 

The South West Development Commission was pleased to organise and host a recent visit to the region by Governor of Western Australia, Dr Ken Michael AC.

His Excellency, and wife Julie, visited many sites of interest during their tour of the region, giving them the opportunity to learn more about the South West and its residents.

A stop at the Augusta Historical Museum (pictured) formed part of the itinerary, as did being interviewed for Augusta Community Radio by two local students.

The tour centred on the Augusta and Margaret River areas.

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Governor of Western Australia, Dr Ken Michael AC, and wife Julie, at Augusta Historical Museum.

Governor of Western Australia, Dr Ken Michael AC, and wife Julie, at Augusta Historical Museum.

Supporting the region through challenges 

The South West Development Commission has been reaching out to support people through challenging times.

In response to news Gunns Limited planned to close its operations at Manjimup and Deanmill unless a buyer could be found, we set up a support centre in Manjimup.

The centre opened in October with the assistance of the Shire of Manjimup and the Manjimup Volunteer & Resource Centre, and during its three months of operation provided information to people about a range of services including employment options, retraining and financial management.

We also coordinated an industry group which worked to investigate positive outcomes for the community.

Similarly, we also provided assistance to workers and farmers affected by Challenge Dairy Australia going into receivership and Challenge Dairy Co-operative ceasing to trade. This included the establishment of a support desk at the Capel Community Centre, kindly arranged by the Shire of Capel. Challenge Dairy farmers were offered support and expert consultancy through a visiting service arranged and resourced by the Commission.

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New helipad caters for South West water bomber 

A South West Development Commission-funded helicopter pad at Busselton Regional Airport will accommodate the FESA water bomber, which services the entire South West, this bushfire season.

A first for the airport, the new facility provides an appropriate landing and take-off area for the water bomber.

We were pleased to provide $50,000 through our allocation of Royalties for Regions to enable the Shire of Busselton to make this project a reality.

For more information about SWDC funding, go to the funding section, or phone 9792 2000.

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SWDC chief executive officer Don Punch and Busselton Shire president Ian Stubbs at the helipad.

SWDC chief executive officer Don Punch and Busselton Shire president Ian Stubbs at the helipad.

Apply now for Royalties for Regions funding 

Over the past couple of years, the South West Development Commission has seen its allocation of Royalties for Regions money do great things for the region.

Funding through the South West Regional Grants Scheme component of Royalties for Regions has equipped volunteers with the resources they require to provide important community services, and provided the boost needed to get community projects off the ground.

Now a new funding round has opened and we are encouraging local groups to apply for grants through the program.

Organisations apply for funding directly through the SWDC, a process which allows the distribution of funds to be determined at a local level.

For further information about applying for grants, please contact SWDC on 9792 2000 or email royaltiesforregions@swdc.wa.gov.au.

Application forms and guidelines can be downloaded from the funding section of our website. Applications for funding close on March 10 2011.

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Public invited to comment on review of Commissions 

People have until February 1 to comment on proposed changes to Western Australia's nine Development Commissions, including the South West Development Commission.

A report into the review of the Development Commissions recommends establishing a single statutory authority - the Western Australian Regional Development Commission (WARDC).

Under the proposed structure, the existing Development Commissions (RDCs) would become regional offices of the WARDC.
 
Public comment on the implementation of the review recommendations will be open until February 1.

Further information is available at http://www.rdl.wa.gov.au/RDCreport.

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Seminar to focus on creating pedestrian-friendly places 

Learn how towns and cities can be improved for pedestrians by attending a South West Development Commission seminar next month.

To be held in Bunbury during February, the seminar will focus on making central business districts and tourist areas more pedestrian-friendly.

The seminar will be held from 11am to 3pm on Tuesday February 15 on the 10th floor of the Bunbury Tower.

The cost of attending is $35 per person. The price includes lunch.

To reserve your seat, register at http://walkability.mysouthwest.com.au/ by Monday January 31.

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Charles Johnson from Planning Context will speak on the topic "Design for walking equals design for living."

Charles Johnson from Planning Context will speak on the topic "Design for walking equals design for living."

SWAS surfers shine 

Recent achievements by South West Academy of Sport surfers have highlighted the value of the SWAS individual scholarship program.

Gun Margaret River surfer Creed McTaggart earned a spot in the Australian team that will compete in the upcoming world junior championships after an outstanding performance during the Arnette Australian Junior Surfing Titles.

The South West Academy of Sport scholarship holder won the Under 18 division of the national titles in December following a spectacular last minute in the water.

As part of the 2011 Travel SIM Australian Junior Surfing Team he will travel to Peru in May to compete in the Quicksilver ISA World Surfing Championships.

Meanwhile, fellow SWAS scholarship holder Mikaela Greene was presented with a $10,000 cheque to help her become a professional surfer after winning the Madison Elle Bache 'Live Your Dream' competition.

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SWAS scholarship holder Creed McTaggart has been honoured with selection to the Australian junior surfing team.

SWAS scholarship holder Creed McTaggart has been honoured with selection to the Australian junior surfing team.