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Around the region - February 2018

New group to power Collie into the future  

Collie committee

Collie has a lot of potential, and a new group has been established to help build on the coal-mining town's many strengths to diversify its economy and create jobs.

The Collie Futures Economic Advisory Committee will identify, consider and recommend projects seeking a financial helping hand through the State Government's $20 million Collie Futures Fund.

The first stage of the fund, the Collie Futures Small Grants Program, will help to get off the ground projects that aim to stimulate the local economy and support community needs.

We'll be administering the Small Grants Program, so keep an eye on our website for details including how to apply.

Pictured: Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Shire of Collie President Sarah Stanley at the announcement in Collie's Central Park.

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Opportunity to join our board 

Would you like to provide insight and contribute to the future of our great region through a position on our board? If so, now is the time to put yourself forward!

We are currently seeking nominations for board membership, with applications closing this Friday February 16. For more information, including how to apply, visit our website.

Pictured: SWDC acting chief executive officer Rebecca Ball, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development acting deputy director general industry and economic development Niegel Grazia, SWDC deputy chair Jennie Franceschi and chair Nick Belyea.

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Local company to deliver local project 

Here at the South West Development Commission, we're big believers in buying local where possible.

So, you can imagine how pleased we are to report that a Bunbury-based company has won the $8.3 million contract to redevelop the Dolphin Discovery Centre.

Perkins Builders will deliver the upgrade and expansion of the tourist attraction, with partial site possession having taken place prior to works on the main building getting under way from May.

The redevelopment project is being made possible as part of the Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront project.

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Festival officially reopens revamped foreshore 

Weekends at the beach in summer are something to look forward to, but on Saturday February 3 there was even more reason to head to Bunbury's Koombana Bay - and thousands did!

Members of the community joined dignitaries at the Koombana Foreshore Festival to officially celebrate the revitalisation project that has resulted in a greatly enhanced foreshore.

The welcome makeover is a result of the Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront project, the foreshore component of which was supported with funding from the State Government and City of Bunbury.

Key features include a new children's playground, pedestrian bridge, amphitheatre, and upgraded kiosk.

Pictured: Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Bunbury MLA Don Punch at the new footbridge.

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Creative and cultural hotspot for tourists 

Late last year, we helped highlight the South West as an emerging cultural and creative hot spot to a group of journalists visiting from overseas.

Now, the articles are starting to roll out - including this story in the Hindustan Times.

Hailing from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam, the journalists toured the South West in November as part of a wider visit to Australia.

The South West leg of the tour was organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in partnership with our TradeStart program as part of efforts to increase awareness of the creative industries.

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Safer place to chat about men's business 

Men's Sheds are great places for people to come together - to be creative and contribute to the community through projects, as well as to have a cuppa and a chat.

So, we're delighted to have been able to support the Augusta Men's Shed to not only make upgrades, but to also buy safety equipment.

Pictured: Augusta Men's Shed president Graeme 'Muddy' Waters demonstrating one of the pieces of new equipment.

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More housing for older residents 

We're proud to be playing a role in transforming the liveability of the region.

One way we are doing so is through supporting the development of more units for older people in some of the South West's smaller towns.

By boosting the stock of affordable and appropriate housing for the region's older residents, we are providing more opportunities for people to stay living in the communities they call home - close to their support network - as their needs change with age.

The official opening of the South West Ageing in Place Housing Pilot and three new units at Pemberton Retirement Village are recent examples of where we've played a role in growing accommodation options in the region.

Pictured: South West Development Commission regional development coordinator Billy Wellstead and Pemberton Aged Accommodation president Gordon Smith in Pemberton.

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New club rooms benefit community 

An increase in membership is just one of the benefits of the Busselton Surf Life Saving Club now being located in Busselton's new Youth and Community Activities Building.

After operating from sea containers for about six years, the club has a brand new home boasting modern facilities.

Features of the new clubrooms, which are located on the recently revamped Busselton foreshore, include a first aid room for treating members of the public, as well as offices and storage facilities.

We're pleased to have supported this project through a grant.

Pictured: Busselton Surf Life Saving Club director of administration Helen Rabjones and South West Development Commission regional development coordinator Julie Wade.

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Upgraded premise to aid emergency rescues 

We were recently able to support the Busselton Volunteer Marine Rescue Group - which provides a valuable service by performing emergency search and rescue missions - to carry out its good work.

A grant we provided enabled the group to expand its premises, resulting in a better place to work and train from.

Importantly, the building extension has provided the space necessary for the group's rescue boat to be stored while hooked up to a tractor. This means the boat is ready to go and volunteers can make a quick getaway when a distress call comes in.

Pictured: Busselton Volunteer Marine Rescue Group committee member Phil Birch, commander Peter Taylor and committee member Jim Frood showcase the new setup.

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Where community connects 

On Dunsborough Lakes Drive, you'll find a place where members of the Dunsborough community come together.

With the town's Men's Shed, Lions Club and emerging community garden co-located together, it's a terrific example of collaboration between groups at a shared facility.

We are pleased to have supported this project through a grant.

Pictured: Dunsborough Men's Shed president Richard Bailey, who says membership has increased since the shed was built.

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Smooth sailing for cruise ship visit 

Live music, local tours and volunteers handing out welcome packs...

Bunbury pulled together on January 28 to give the 690-guest Azamara Journey cruise ship a warm welcome on its maiden voyage to Bunbury.

As coordinators of the Cruise Bunbury committee, we were pleased to join a group of community leaders in officially greeting the Journey's captain.

Well done to everyone involved in providing crew and passengers with such a memorable experience!

Pictured: South West Development Commission business and industry development officer Mark Exeter, Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan and SWDC acting chief executive officer Rebecca Ball.

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New Collie mountain bike track 

Collie is well-known for industry, but it is also a great place to visit if you want to spend time in the great outdoors.

The latest reason for nature and adventure sport lovers to head to the South West town is the new townsite mountain bike trail that officially opened on January 25.

The trail connects Collie's central business district with surrounding bushland.

And with the trail head located at Soldier's Park where there is a playground, skate park and barbecue facilities, it offers a great family experience.

We are thrilled to have provided a grant to the Shire of Collie for this project and congratulate all those involved in making it a reality.

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Connecting more of the region to opportunities 

In another win for the South West, a new mobile base station has been launched in Wellington Mill.

We were fortunate to be part of a recent event attended by Telstra CEO Andy Penn that celebrated the fact there are now mobile base stations in Wellington Mill as well as Lowden and the Ferguson Valley.

The improved coverage will go a long way in allowing the community to keep in contact with family and friends and run businesses more effectively. Connectivity also plays an important role in emergency situations.

Pictured: WA Police acting superintendent communications infrastructure program Garry Cunningham, SWDC acting chief executive officer Rebecca Ball, Telstra CEO Andy Penn and Shire of Dardanup president Mick Bennett.

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Strengthening ties with China 

We regularly work to foster connections between the South West and international markets.

Last year, for example, we had the opportunity to showcase the region to a group visiting as part of the Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement.

The treaty level agreement between the Australian and Chinese governments is designed to enhance cooperation across agricultural industries, develop the trading relationship and provide a forum for the exchange of scientific information.

The group comprised representatives from industry and government, and had a focus on grain and beef cattle as well as developing a broader look at the agricultural supply chains across WA.

Pictured: SWDC industry development and TradeStart advisor Simon Taylor with the visiting group having a look at port-based operations in Bunbury.

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Trade a focus during gourmet event 

We worked to tempt the tastebuds of international buyers who scoured the region seeking out local wine to import during the most recent Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

Through our TradeStart program and in partnership with a wide range of government and industry stakeholders including Austrade, we organised for a group of buyers from China and South Korea to visit the region during the high-profile foodie festival.

The timing of the delegation's visit allowed the region to be showcased when its wine and food were being celebrated in the international spotlight, helping to bring alive the internationally-renowned Margaret River brand.

A highlight was a trade tasting event at Caves House Hotel on November 17 that was opened by Federal Member for Forest Nola Marino and Margaret River Wine Association chairperson Barry House.

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