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e-Newsletter May/June 2017

Smoother ride between tourism destinations  

ferguson valley

With the approaching long weekend offering up an extra day to explore our wonderful region, we're sure you will be pleased to learn that a drive that links two of the region's spectacular destinations is now even more convenient to explore.

Following a $2million project to seal the last stretch of gravel on Mungalup Road, the Ferguson Valley Tourism Route is now sealed end-to-end.

With the aid of $1.7million in Royalties for Regions funding secured by the Commission, the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup was able to upgrade a 3.7 kilometre section of the road that connects the Ferguson Valley and Wellington National Park.

In-kind contributions from the Shire and Department of Parks and Wildlife also helped make the project possible.

Pictured: Gayle Gray and Anna Oades from SWDC, with the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup's Angelo Logiudice and Ben Rose.

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Anne Frank exhibition 

The Let Me Be Myself - The Life Story of Anne Frank exhibition is now in the South West.

Until Sunday July 9, people are encouraged to visit the Collie Art Gallery to discover the story of Anne Frank, from her birth in 1929 to her death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

Each exhibition panel also contains images and information about the world around Anne Frank: the rise of Hitler, the persecution of the Jews and World War II.

One third of the exhibition is dedicated to the stories of young people today.

We are pleased to provide funding through our South West Events Program to support this important exhibition in Collie.

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Machinery of Government 

No doubt you have heard about the restructure that has been announced for the WA public sector.

The changes mean that from July 1, staff from the nine regional development commissions, Department of Regional Development, Department of Fisheries, and Department of Food and Agriculture will be employed by the new Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

It is business as usual at SWDC. We are continuing our efforts to make the region an even better place to live, work and invest.

Pictured: SWDC acting CEO Anna Oades meeting with Niegel Grazia from the Department of Regional Development and Tim Shanahan from the WA Regional Development Trust.

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Construction progresses at regional airport 

We recently visited the site of the $69.7million Busselton-Margaret River Regional Airport expansion and are pleased to report that construction is progressing well, with 6.5 hectares of apron taking shape as part of the first stage of the project.

Having built the case for the development of the airport, it was terrific to see first-hand the work being undertaken to provide the infrastructure necessary to facilitate flights to and from interstate destinations such as Melbourne and Sydney.

The upgrades will also prepare the airport to receive passenger and freight flights to South East Asia.

This is an important gateway project that will remove the barrier of distance to support economic growth in the South West.

Pictured: Mike Archer and Naomi Searle from the City of Busselton with Ashley Clements from SWDC.

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Take a virtual swim under the Busselton Jetty 

Want to know what it's like to swim under the award-winning Busselton Jetty? But not that keen on taking to the water? Thanks to virtual reality, you don't even have to get wet to glimpse what lies beneath.

Slip on one of the five new virtual reality headsets available from the jetty museum and you'll feel as though you are immersed in water as you explore the iconic structure from the depths of Geographe Bay.

Once you've resurfaced, you can discover the history of the 152-year-old jetty through interactive touch screens, and use other screen displays to learn about and view local marine life - including the popular local mermaids.

The multimedia makeover was made possible with help from the Commission, Royalties for Regions and Lotterywest.

Pictured: SWDC's Julie Wade with Mike Dunn of Phimedia, a South West resident who developed the amazing experience.

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Collie takes control of its destiny 

Collie has long been the coal mining capital of Western Australia. But in an effort to make the town more resilient to change, efforts are under way to diversify the town's economic base.

As part of continuing the conversations kick-started by the Collie Economic Development Taskforce through the Reimagining Collie project, emerging local leaders are being empowered to shape their own destiny.

A two-year program funded by the Collie & District Community Branch of the Bendigo Bank called Operation Next Gen is giving a group of ambassadors the opportunity to develop their leadership skills while exploring ways to take the town forward.

The group, which met for the first time on Friday May 26, will focus on stimulating entrepreneurship, youth connections, leadership and self-investment to ensure the town continues to be a great place to live and work well into the future.

Pictured: Patrick Warrand from SWDC meets with the Operation Next Gen team including founder Kerry Anderson, local advisory committee members Sarah Stanley and Julie Hillier, and program ambassadors.

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Snap the South West 

Here's a chance to use your creativity to help us get the word out about how special the South West region is to live, work and play.

Entries are open for our annual photography competition and calendar project, which this year has the theme "Spirit of the South West."

Entries close Friday June 30, after which a total of 13 winning photos will be selected to feature in the 2018 This South West Life calendar, along with 13 runner-up winners.

Pictured: SWDC's Teneille Watson puts the Golden Valley Tree Park, near Balingup, in the picture.

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Koombana makeover 

Bunbury's waterfront is being transformed.

Works are under way not only on the forward works component of the Dolphin Discovery Centre redevelopment, but also the City of Bunbury-managed Koombana Bay foreshore makeover.

Both projects form stage one of the Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront initiative.

Pictured: SWDC assistant director infrastructure Ashley Clements, Bunbury MLA Don Punch and Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan officially mark the beginning of the Koombana Bay foreshore revitalisation.

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Independent advice about connecting to the NBN 

Are you looking to make the switch to the National Broadband Network? If so, you may benefit from attending a free presentation by the South West's independent NBN advisor.

At each seminar, Mike Hendry will provide handy tips about transitioning to the NBN, and equip you with the questions you need to ask providers when starting the process of getting connected.

The NBN advisor position is a result of a partnership between Regional Development Australia ─ South West, South West Development Commission, NBN, Business South West, and the South West Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The position was created to ensure impartial advice is available to local businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

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Event made of the 'write' stuff 

It's often said that reading gives people an opportunity to escape into another world. Now fans of the written word have the chance to indulge their passion by escaping to Margaret River for the annual readers and writers festival.

Over three days this long weekend, people can enjoy author talks, interviews, discussions, book signings and workshops. Guests will include Michael Palin, James Foley (pictured) and Stephanie Alexander.

It's all part of the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival, one of 50 events we are proud to sponsor this year through our South West Events Program.

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Jazzing up your long weekend 

The Margaret River region will hit the right note with jazz lovers this long weekend when a popular annual music festival devoted to the genre is held over four jam-packed days.

From this Friday, the SWDC-supported Jazz by the Bay returns to Dunsborough, Busselton, Yallingup and Margaret River for its biggest festival to date.

Fans will be able to soak up the sounds of jazz, funk and soul at more than 40 events across 20 locations.

Amongst the international and interstate acts will be local musician Noah Shilkin (pictured), who will perform with friends at a special daytime event at Clancy's Fish Pub in Dunsborough this Friday June 2.

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Waterfront information session on tomorrow 

The State Government is investing millions of dollars to transform Bunbury's waterfront.

Where possible, we want this money to flow to local businesses so local people benefit.

That's why we're giving interested parties the chance to connect with the short-listed tenderers for the Dolphin Discovery Centre redevelopment, which forms part of stage one of the Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront project.

The event will take place in the Bunbury Tower tomorrow, Thursday June 1.

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