One of the key highlights was to see the benefits of Royalties for Regions funding flowing into the region. The year in review saw completion of planning and successful funding for a number of important projects. These projects have been in the pipeline for a long period, some as long as 10 years, and represent considerable community effort and support in making them get to the stage where they are funded and ready to start on construction. The projects include the expansion of the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, development of a Coronary Care Unit in Bunbury, and redevelopment of the Busselton and Dunsborough foreshores.
Other highlights included securing funding for the filming of Drift to take place in the South West during 2011/12, and the completion of the Busselton Jetty, a major rebuild undertaken by the Shire of Busselton.
Another highlight has been the demonstration of community strength and resilience at Manjimup in the face of the closure of Gunns Limited's local operations. This led to the establishment of a one-stop information and support centre, as well as regular community briefing sessions chaired by the local member, Terry Redman. The town responded quickly to not only address the needs of workers and businesses affected by the closure but also to look at new opportunities for Manjimup. One of these is the district's re-emergence as a primary food source for the State and a growing provider of premium quality produce and wine.
Manjimup hosted the 2011 Critical Horizons conference, which examined the future of agriculture and food and explored new emerging themes in consumer demand. The conference highlighted the role Manjimup can play in premium quality food production.
The SWDC also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Tourism WA to undertake responsibility for coordinating and supporting the development of the tourism sector in the region. Tourism WA saw its strategic future in marketing to create demand for local product. The Commission took on the role of building and modernising South West product to meet new consumer taste.
Find out more in project highlights.
With a population growth rate of 3.1 per cent, the South West is growing at a rate higher than the State and nationally. Growth is therefore a significant aspect of our region. An important part of the Commission's work will be to continue to develop community infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population. A significant area of work will be in regard to the region's ageing population.
We will have a major focus on supporting planning for security of water supply for industry in the Bunbury-Wellington region. This will be a project with both short and long-term objectives.
At a broader level the Commission believes the future for many medium-sized enterprises is in export, particularly to India and China, so we will build further on these strategies with support from inward trade visits and overseas trade delegations.
Infrastructure is also a key element and we will be working with industry and government stakeholders to advance planning and funding for the Roads to Export agenda. Released in 2009/10, the Roads to Export report identified a series of projects that required funding to ensure the region was able to cope with projected industry and population growth, and ensure continued quality of life through jobs creation and road safety.
The SuperTowns agenda is expected to be a major area of work for the Commission in 2011/12.