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e-Newsletter June 2016

Fond farewell 


Over the past 18 years, I have had the privilege of working in the best region in Australia but more importantly with the people and the communities that make up our region. It has been a wonderful journey.

Together we have come through a lot of changes.  Our towns and cities have changed, our economy is broadening and becoming more international, and our population has grown tremendously with people from all over the world choosing to call the South West home.

I leave the SWDC with a great sense of optimism about our future. There will still be some tough times ahead but the region continues to adapt to new circumstances and continues to offer great opportunities.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported the SWDC and myself over the past 18 years and wish you the very best for the future. - With best regards, Don Punch

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Waterfront windfall 

After years of planning and consultation, funding has been secured towards realising the vision for transforming Bunbury's waterfront - and we're rapt.

The State Government investment of more than $45million of Royalties for Regions funding means the first two stages of the project will make the leap from paper to reality.

We can look forward to stage one: the revitalisation of the Koombana Bay foreshore and redevelopment of the Dolphin Discovery Centre.

Then there's stage two: the enhancement of Casuarina Drive - including BP Beach and foreshore - and Jetty Road causeway.

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Community projects boosted 

There are many groups doing great work in the community and it's always terrific when funding can be provided to support their efforts.

So we were delighted when Regional Development Minister Terry Redman announced the recipients of the most recent round of the Community Chest Fund.

Thanks to the State Government Royalties for Regions funding program and local decision-making by SWDC, a total of 28 projects in the South West will receive a welcome financial boost.

Pictured: Vasse funding recipients celebrating with Libby Mettam and Colin Holt.

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Manjimup’s metamorphosis  

Manjimup has long been known as a timber town, but in recent years it has undergone a metamorphosis.

The town has built on its strengths and is fast becoming known as an important food bowl and culinary tourism destination - not to mention a family-friendly place to live.

The recent announcement of $22.3million in State Government Royalties for Regions funding for the second stage of the Manjimup Town Centre Redevelopment Project will take the town another step closer to its potential.

The redevelopment will include the revitalisation of key streets, realignment of town entry points and creation of a tourism hub.

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Facilitating opportunities  

We often host groups visiting the region with the view to facilitating trade and investment opportunities.

Most recently, we were involved in setting the itinerary for a delegation from China that was in the South West as part of the Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement.

The government officials and private investors stopped in the Bunbury, Margaret River and Manjimup areas during their time in the region.

They were shown a number of businesses with the view to highlighting the strengths of the region, supply chain complexities and commercial investment opportunities.

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Telling Tales and having fun 

Children will be encouraged to tell tales these school holidays - well, sort of.

The Telling Tales in Balingup story telling weekend will take place over Saturday July 9 and Sunday July 10.

Creative writing and illustration workshops, chances to meet authors, and a parade of book characters will all be part of the fun of this SWDC-supported event.

In total, we are supporting 57 festivals, cultural celebrations and sporting contests to take place this year through the South West Community Events Program.

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Acting chief executive 

As you may be aware, Anna Oades has been appointed acting chief executive officer at SWDC.

Currently the strategic manager people and place, Anna will take the helm at SWDC following Don Punch's departure this Friday.

The recruitment process for the role of chief executive officer is expected to get underway in the near future.

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View from the top  

Manjimup can now boast being home to a giant 12 metre high slide.

The new addition to the South West was tested by a few familiar faces at an official launch on Friday that marked the completion of stage one of the Manjimup Town Centre Revitalisation Project.

Are you game to give the slide a go? If so, you'll find the slippery dip at the Manjimup Timber and Heritage Park.

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Out and about in Manjimup 

Our board regularly visits different areas of the South West as part of its efforts to get to know projects and issues first-hand.

The group's most recent outing was in Manjimup, where they were able to view a number of projects relating to the town's revitalisation project.

They are pictured here taking a walking tour of the town with shire president Wade DeCampo.

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Last day to enter photo comp  

Have you recently taken a calendar-worthy photo of the region?

If so, why not enter our photography contest for the chance to have your work featured in a 2017 calendar.

The calendar will be made available for free later this year.

Entries close today.

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Support for science  

In the future, science and innovation are expected to play crucial roles in increasing prosperity and informing decisions about the way we manage and develop the region.

With this in mind, we are providing support to get the newly-formed South West Science Council off to a strong start.

We have allocated $25,000 over three financial years to the group, which recently held a climate change-themed symposium.

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Main street makeover 

We're pleased Margaret River's main street is a step closer to receiving an upgrade.

With the assistance of $5.5million in State Government Royalties for Regions money, the stretch of Bussell Highway that runs through the town centre will be made more accessible and visitor friendly.

The investment comes after the State Government's commitment last year to fund the completion of the Margaret River Perimeter Road.

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Beachfront revamp 

We want towns and cities in our great region to reach their potential.

And with this in mind, we're thrilled the State Government recently allocated $4.5 million in Royalties for Regions money towards transforming the iconic Busselton foreshore.

The $10.5million redevelopment is designed to deliver quality beachfront accommodation and tourism experiences, increasing the city's appeal as a world-class holiday destination.

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Preparing local groups for change  

We recently teamed up with the Department of Commerce to run information sessions about the new rules for incorporated associations.

The meetings helped prepare not-for-profit organisations for changes that are set to impact clubs, societies and community groups.

We hope attendees walked away better informed about the Associations Incorporation Act 2015.

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