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e-Newsletter November-December 2015

Bidding farewell to a remarkable year 

farewell2015

It's been a remarkable year here at the South West Development Commission, and we're pleased with all that we have been able to achieve for the region in 2015.

A major accomplishment was laying the foundations for the sustainable growth and development of the region through the release of the South West Regional Blueprint.

Proudly, we have already taken significant steps towards realising a number of projects identified in the blueprint as critical to taking the region forward.

Highlights include securing millions of dollars in Royalties for Regions funding towards both the expansion of the Busselton-Margaret River Regional Airport and building the stock of affordable and age-friendly accommodation in the region.

Other notable activities include the completion of the first stage of the Margaret River Perimeter Road and the release of a vision for transforming Bunbury's waterfront.

Pictured: SWDC chief executive officer Don Punch and chairman Stuart Hicks.

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Looking at opportunities for potato industry 

It's no secret that the South West forms an important food bowl for Western Australia.

But what you may not know is that investigations are underway to unlock new market opportunities for potato growers in the region.

The study, which we are spearheading, was sparked following the announcement of the upcoming closure of a major chips factory in Perth and the potential impact on local growers.

We expect the report to be completed in the new year.

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Future-proofing Collie’s economic future 

The coal industry has been the foundation for Collie's economy for more than 100 years and will continue to play a major role in the future.

But so the town's economic eggs aren't all in the one basket, it is necessary to diversify.

With this in mind, a taskforce has been established to investigate options for broadening Collie's industry base.

The aim of the group is to identify opportunities to develop and grow new industries that maximise the town's competitive advantages.

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Housing in the spotlight 

We are excited to announce the next conference in our Critical Horizons think tank series will have the topic "Housing the South West in the 21st Century".

It will take place at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre on Friday April 1.

If you don't want to miss out on what is shaping up to be must-see event, we suggest you take the opportunity to save the date in your diary.

Further details, including the names of guest speakers, will be released in the new year.

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Calendar showcases region 

The calendar featuring winning entries from our This South West Life photography contest has arrived back from the printers - and it looks terrific!

Thanks to eye-catching photos taken by talented locals, the 2016 wall calendar provides a unique glimpse of what it's like to live, work and play in the South West of Western Australia.

Already we are hearing reports of people sending the calendars overseas, helping us to spread the word about our wonderful region.

The calendar is available for free from SWDC. If you'd like a copy, let us know and we will mail one to you.

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Waterfront vision well-received 

"I believe this is a fantastic opportunity to put Bunbury on the map."

"It looks amazing and will make Bunbury a tourist attraction. It just has to happen quickly."

"Get cracking."


As you can see, the feedback we received about the recently-released vision for transforming Bunbury's waterfront was generally positive, with many respondents keen to see the project proceed as soon as possible.

In fact, 95 per cent of submissions received in October indicated approval for the overall vision.

This has given us and the committee tasked with coordinating the project confidence we are on the right track.

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Creating a close-knit community 

Creating vibrant, interesting communities that people want to be part of is one of our aims.

As a result, we're delighted to team up with the City of Bunbury to support an art project taking place in Withers.

People can join in 'crafternoons' at the Hudson Road Family Centre on Mondays at 10am and Wednesdays at 12.30pm as well as at the studio next to the centre on Fridays at 12.30pm and Sundays at 10am.

Come along to knit and chat, meet the artist in residence, and be part of a yarn bombing project taking place along Hudson Road reserve.

Pictured:
Kelly Darragh, Michele Grimston and Anna Edmundson next to a tree that has been yarn bombed in Withers.

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Kelly Darragh, Michele Grimston and Anna Edmundson next to a tree that has been yarn bombed in Withers.

Meeting community needs 

One of the great aspects about Royalties for Regions funding is how it is providing groups in the region with financial help to run much-needed community services.

Take for example the Bunbury Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Association, which received a Royalties for Regions - Regional Grants Scheme grant from us earlier this year.

It now has new flooring, stainless steel benches and a dishwasher to support the work of volunteers which dish up between 500 and 700 meals a week.

Pictured: Terry Buswell at work in the newly-upgraded kitchen.

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Terry Buswell at work in the newly-upgraded kitchen.

Promoting the region 

To help get the word out about what the region has to offer we are often involved in hosting visiting groups.

For example, we recently supported a Wine Australia delegation of hospitality and media representatives from the United Kingdom and Europe.

The group sampled their way through the Margaret River wine region, taking part in a number of activities against the backdrop of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

Both the SWDC and the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association were involved in hosting the visit, which has already resulted in overseas media coverage of the region.

Pictured:
SWDC's Mat Lewis, London-based Wine Australia representative Camilla Coste, SWDC's Simon Taylor and the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association's Tony Fletcher at a tasting at Caves House.

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SWDC’s Mat Lewis, London-based Wine Australia representative Camilla Coste, SWDC’s Simon Taylor and the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association’s Tony Fletcher at a tasting at Caves House.

Supporting science 

We are proud to have assisted in setting up the South West Science Council to become an incorporated body.

The new group will work to foster the development of science and technology in the region.

Pictured: Adrian Egan with Sue Kerr, Bernie Masters, Patrick Warrand, Jenni Cornish and Lyn Farrell at a recent meeting.

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Adrian Egan with Sue Kerr, Bernie Masters, Patrick Warrand, Jenni Cornish and Lyn Farrell at a recent meeting.

Snap the South West for chance to win 

What is it about the South West that makes you smile?

Capture your answer on camera and your photo could be chosen to feature in a calendar that might be hanging up in people's homes and offices in 2017.

For details, including how to enter, visit our website.

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Enabling business success 

Supporting local business forms part our business.

As a result, we get behind initiatives that equip people for business success.

For example, we have invested in an Enable Southwest program through a Royalties for Regions - Community Chest Fund grant.

The program supports people with disabilities to set up their own small business.

Pictured: Jayden Depiazzi selling his Dice Knockout card game at the Bunbury Centrepoint Shopping Centre as part of an Enable Southwest display.

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Jayden Depiazzi selling his Dice Knockout card game at the Bunbury Centrepoint Shopping Centre as part of an Enable Southwest display.

Visitors explore region 

We've recently opened the doors of our office to two special visitors from Haiyan County in China.

The placement has enabled Brian Chen and Peter Dong to explore the region in recent weeks to gain a better understanding of the South West and find opportunities for potential cooperation.

While Mr Chen has finished his placement, we are fortunate to have Mr Dong with us for a little longer.

Pictured: Visitors Peter Dong and Brian Chen with Ray Philp from the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Don Punch from SWDC.

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Visitors Brian Chen and Peter Dong with Ray Philp from the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Don Punch from SWDC.

Young talent in the spotlight 

Here at the South West Development Commission, we're passionate about giving young people opportunities to help them reach their potential.

So it is with pleasure that we continue to support the South West Academy of Sport, which provides talent development pathways for young athletes in the region.

Most recently, we got behind the not-for-profit organisation's annual dinner and awards night that was held to recognise the efforts of high achievers.

It was terrific seeing people awarded for their good work on and off the sports field.

Pictured: SWAS Sports Star of the Year and BMX champion Rachelle Smith.

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SWAS Sports Star of the Year and BMX champion Rachelle Smith.