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Around the region - August 2018

New faces around the boardroom table 

Board members

We would like to introduce you to our newest board members ─ Nannup Shire president Tony Dean and Collie businesswoman Julie Hillier.

They were recently announced as representatives on our board of management.

The latest injection of talent will benefit the board and the wider region as we continue efforts to transform the region for the better.

Keep reading to find out about projects we are either driving or supporting in the South West.

Pictured: New SWDC board members Tony Dean and Julie Hillier with SWDC acting chief executive officer Rebecca Ball and chairman Nick Belyea.

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Local fingerprints emerge 

When the Dolphin Discovery Centre reopens in December, it won't just be a new landmark for Bunbury offering a fresh new experience for visitors - it will also be a showcase of local skills and business capability.

As part of the Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront project, Bunbury-based contractor Perkins Builders is progressing the upgrade and expansion of the building from designs by local firm MCG Architects.

Those involved on the construction side of the State Government-funded project have so far included six apprentices, with about 25 South West suppliers and sub-contractors engaged as of June.

Once complete, Bunbury will have a landmark tourist site boasting fresh new experiences for visitors.

The upgraded and expanded DDC will be a drawcard, offering a new interpretative centre and exhibits, cafe, and souvenir shop.

Pictured: Local apprentices Tristan Ugle, Harley Depiazzi and Brody Robinson are among those who have been working to deliver the upgrade and expansion of the Dolphin Discovery Centre.

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Charging up for a boom 

We are working with Arc Infrastructure and Talison Lithium to investigate the viability of a rail based supply-chain as an option for transporting lithium mineral concentrate from Talison Lithium's Greenbushes mine.

News of the partnership comes as the small South West town of Greenbushes emerges as a big player in the lithium boom.

Talison Lithium has announced it is doubling expansion plans for its Greenbushes mine, proposing a $516m second-stage expansion - subject to regulatory approvals - before the initial $320m expansion is even complete.

The region is also set to be home to the proposed Albemarle Kemerton Plant, with Albemarle Corporation working to establish the downstream conversion lithium hydroxide product manufacturing plant in an industrial area on the outskirts of Bunbury.

To ensure locals benefit, we recently teamed up with Albemarle Corporation to hold an event for the purpose of connecting local businesses with potential opportunities regarding the proposed plant.

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Connecting your business to local projects 

Because we make it our business to support local business, we're taking a lead role in linking State Government contracts with local suppliers and subcontractors to create more job opportunities in the region.

We recently welcomed Carly Anderson (pictured above) to the team as our dedicated principal local content advisor. Carly is focused on connecting industry to government procurement opportunities with the aim of increasing the portion of State Government and industry contracts secured by regional contractors and businesses.

We are also continuing to hold Local Project, Local Opportunities information sessions for the purpose of linking local businesses with opportunities presented by large projects. Recent events have focused on the proposed Albemarle Kemerton Plant, Capel Civic Precinct - Stage 4, and Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront - Jetty Road Causeway Upgrade.

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Funding to grow the Southern Forests 

The Southern Forests is an amazing region that has become increasingly known as a source of premium produce in recent years - and a large part of that recognition has been because of the efforts of the Southern Forests Food Council.

The organisation will be able to continue unlocking new opportunities for the region while working to become self-sufficient, thanks to $1.5 million from the State Government.

Over three years, the funding will help the Council to establish alternative revenue streams while it continues to deliver the Genuinely Southern Forests brand, connects members to new market opportunities, and identifies agricultural development opportunities.

The SFFC has been operating for five years and has made a significant contribution to the local economy through promoting local produce, and establishing efficient pathways in the supply chain for producers to access new markets.

Pictured: Laura Bolitho and Bevan Eatts from the Southern Forests Food Council.

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South West on Singapore shelves 

South West businesses are producing quality products that are in demand around the world.

Omega Premium Walnuts, for example, has recently entered the Singapore market.

It now has its product on the shelves of about 13 stores in the Lion City - and this is just the start for the business in terms of exporting.

We are pleased our trade team has been able to work behind the scenes to help Omega Premium Walnuts ─ a winner in the 2018 delicious state produce awards ─ with their export efforts.

Pictured: Omega Premium Walnuts sales and marketing manager Chelsea Goodwin and general manager Michael Williams. Omega has an orchard in Nannup and a farm in Manjimup.

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Collie grants applications flood in 

Thank you to everyone who submitted an application for funding through the first round of the Collie Futures Small Grants Program.

The round closed on July 18, and the assessment and approvals process is under way.

The grants program was launched to stimulate economic growth and job creation in Collie and surrounds.

Through the first round, organisations were invited to apply for grants from $5,000 to $250,000 to support local opportunities in a range of industries.

The grants program provides opportunities for a wide range of potential projects where they can demonstrate an economic impact benefiting the Collie area.

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It’s official: the South West is home to the best park 

Locals know the park at Bunbury's Koombana Bay is something special ─ and now the rest of the state does too.

The Koombana Bay foreshore redevelopment was officially named Park of the Year at the recent Parks and Leisure WA Awards of Excellence for 2018.

The award celebrates and promotes vibrant, successful, well-designed and managed new or significantly revitalised parks and open spaces.

The revitalisation of the Koombana Bay foreshore formed part of stage one of Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront.

Pictured: Matthew Unwin from Cardno, Ashley Clements from the South West Development Commission and Phillip Rowley from the City of Bunbury celebrate the win.

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Local businesses recognised 

The South West is home to many outstanding small businesses, and it's fantastic that events like the South West Small Business Awards serve to highlight their achievements.

We would like to congratulate all the winners from this year's South West Small Business Awards.

We sponsored the Construction, Mining and Manufacturing Award, which we had the honour of presenting to Busselton-based The Caravan Doctor.

Pictured: The Caravan Doctor owners Simon and Linda Bird with South West Development Commission acting chief executive officer Rebecca Ball.

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Spotlight on changing energy landscape 

The latest in our long-running Critical Horizons futures series placed a spotlight on the changing energy landscape.

Held in Collie on June 8 in recognition of the town being an important energy hub, the Powering the Future of WA conference attracted a capacity crowd which heard from a variety of guest speakers.

The conference was successful in getting people thinking about the changing energy landscape, the disruptions facing the sector, and how communities might be powered in the future.

Looking for a presentation from the conference? Chances are you'll find it here on the official website.

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Committee kick-starts planning for growth 

Here at SWDC, we believe some of the strongest results are achieved when people and organisations come together in support of a common goal.

So, we're excited to be facilitating the multi-agency team that will deliver an economic development plan for Collie, Bunbury and surrounding areas for the purpose of diversifying the economy and driving jobs creation.

The growth plan process is well under way with both the ministerial steering committee that will oversee the development of the strategy document as well as the reference group having held meetings.

Chaired by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, membership also includes Reece Whitby MLA, Mick Murray MLA, Robyn Clarke MLA and Don Punch MLA.

Pictured: Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan in Collie with Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray and Bunbury MLA Don Punch in Collie for a ministerial steering committee.

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Waterfront transformation 

The transformation of the Bunbury waterfront will hit a new milestone when the project enters its second stage this month.

Works will soon get under way on the Jetty Road causeway, with about 24,000 tonnes of rock to be placed for essential improvements to the structure of the causeway from early August 2018.

The second phase of work is expected to start in early 2019 with replacement of the road, formalised parking, footpaths, landscaping and improvements to services including power, water, sewerage, firefighting and telecommunications.

Many organisations are working together under the guidance of the Bunbury Development Committee to deliver the transformation of Bunbury's waterfront.

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Building up Bunbury 

Efforts to transform Bunbury into Western Australia's second city have officially begun with the group tasked with overseeing planning for key transformational projects on the job.

Members of the newly-formed Bunbury Development Committee are working together to take a close look at projects with the power to drive the city forward.

Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront and the Koombana park project as well as the redevelopments of Withers and Glen Iris will all benefit from the new level of cross-government and stakeholder coordination afforded through the formation of the committee.

This is a terrific example of community representatives and State Government agencies coming together for the good of Bunbury - and we are pleased to facilitate the group.

Pictured: The group at Koombana park.

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Capel's new look 

Have you been to Capel lately? It's now an even better place to live and visit, thanks to the third stage of the town centre enhancement project reaching completion. A new playground is among the attractions.

It's an exciting time be in Capel. Planning for stage four of the Capel Civic Precinct project is gearing up in anticipation of works on this phase beginning in October.

We recently teamed up with the Shire of Capel to hold a Local Project, Local Opportunities session to give local businesses a chance to learn more about the fourth stage of the project.

The event was a great opportunity for attendees to learn about opportunities associated with the project, and find out about State Government funded resources available to build the capability of  businesses.

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Tourism investment mission 

The South West is the most visited regional tourism area in Western Australia - and we're making sure key decision-makers know why.

We recently coordinated a visit to the region for Federal government representatives for the purpose of showcasing what the region has to offer in terms of tourism experiences.

The idea behind the visit was to look at potential developments that support investment in the region's tourism sector. Following their visit, discussions are now underway on how to promote specific investment sites to potential international investors through Austrade and Tourism Australia.

Pictured: The group in Busselton.

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Paving the way for an even better Margaret River 

It's no secret that Margaret River is a great place to live and visit. But a project being carried out now is set to make the town an even more appealing place to be.

Once complete, the Margaret River Perimeter Road will provide an alternative route for heavy vehicles, reducing traffic and congestion on the town's main street - thereby improving safety and amenity.

Having helped build the case for the second stage of the project, we are pleased to see this State Government-funded project progressing and on track for a December completion.

Pictured: John Szeliga from Main Roads with Jack Merrill and Ashley Clements from SWDC.

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Photo comp attracts high quality entries 

This year's annual photography contest challenged people to come up with fresh takes on the familiar landmarks and landscapes of the South West - and you delivered.

We received hundreds of entries in the This South West Life photography competition, with winners to feature in a 2019 calendar.

The wall calendar will be made available for free later this year to promote the region.

In the meantime, we are going through a judging process with the view to announcing the winning entries in the coming months.

Pictured: SWDC acting chief executive officer Rebecca Ball.

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CinefestOZ to light up region’s star appeal 

Here at the South West Development Commission, we're big fans of movies - and not just because they're fun to watch.

Having movies filmed in the region creates opportunities for locals - job, training, business and tourism opportunities.

That's why we work in partnership with stakeholders to promote the region as a quality filming location. Recently, both Go Karts and The Naked Wanderer were shot in the South West.

We are also pleased to support events like this month's CinefestOZ film festival which puts the region on the map as a tourist destination.

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Update your home and wardrobe, help the community 

The Karried Away Op Shoppe in Northcliffe will soon reopen after undergoing much-needed upgrades funded by a Royalties for Regions grant allocated by us at the South West Development Commission.

No ordinary second-hand store, proceeds from the social enterprise staffed by volunteers go towards the

Northcliffe Family and Community Centre so the organisation can provide valuable services to locals.

Which means when you purchase a shirt or book from the Karried Away Op Shoppe you help to strengthen the local community.

Pictured: Jenny Mawdsley and Oona Ormsby from the Northcliffe Family and Community Centre.

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Nursery celebrates 

With support provided through our grants, many local community groups are making their ideas and projects a reality. And it's helping to create stronger, more vibrant communities.

The Geographe Community Landcare Nursery in Busselton is one of the latest organisations to bring a project to fruition with our financial assistance.

The group recently opened its new volunteer training venue and Landcare information centre - and at the same time, celebrated the 15th anniversary of it being at its Queen Elizabeth Avenue site.

Pictured: Dennekka Sullivan showcasing the nursery.

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Cooking up community 

There's something about food that brings people together. For a laugh. And a chat.

So, we are delighted to have been able to provide funding towards recent renovations to the Cookernup Community Hall's kitchen.

This kitchen is a fantastic community asset that is vital to supporting the weekly morning teas that bring the local community together.

Pictured: Member for Murray-Wellington Robyn Clarke, Cookernup Progress Association president Kerry Argent, and SWDC acting assistant director people and place Cate Brooks at the official opening.

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Boyup Brook better equipped 

From surf life saving clubs to sea rescue groups, volunteers around the South West carry out critical services in local communities.

We are proud to support a number of these volunteer-led organisations, including St John Ambulance Boyup Brook.

With assistance from one of our grants, the sub-station has been able to extend its garage to allow all four of its ambulances to park under cover where they are protected from the elements.

Pictured: Libby Marshall and Angela Hales from St John Ambulance Boyup Brook in the extended garage.

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