Year in review

In 2018, the Commission’s work supporting economic and social development in the Great Southern continued with vigour. The GSDC also engaged closely with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in the development of new organisational structures that amalgamated the former departments of Regional Development, Fisheries, and Agriculture and Food.

Here’s a quick look at a few highlights and milestones among the many GSDC-supported projects and events in 2018.

January: Projects supported by the GSDC celebrated official openings, including the Kendenup Community Agricultural Hall, the Plantagenet District Hall and the Mount Barker Campdraft arena.

February: Great Southern tourism industry and related organisations explored the opportunities and challenges in the Chinese tourism market at a presentation hosted by the GSDC and the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Albany Arts Festival launched its first program.

March: Appreciative crowds turned out for Taste Great Southern, the Katanning Harmony Festival and the Great Southern Sustainable Living Festival. The Albany Community Enterprise Development Centre opened and the Fitzgerald Biosphere Implementation Group celebrated the relaunch of the Fitzgerald Biosphere.

April: In a highlight event of the year, the Albany Entertainment Centre hosted the premiere of the movie Breath, which was filmed in Denmark with support through the GSDC. Director Simon Baker, author Tim Winton and stars Samson Coulter and Ben Spence attended the gala event. Albany’s new visitor centre opened, developed with support from the GSDC.

May: Breath opened in cinemas around Australia. The GSDC partnered with the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry to present a post-budget luncheon with the Honourable Sue Ellery MLC, Minister for Education and Training, and Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council. Albany explored the potential of becoming a trail town at a forum presented by the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence.

June: Regional businesses attended a roadshow event to learn more about the WA Industry Link initiative, aimed at helping regional enterprises to secure work through State Government contracts. Denmark’s Festival of Voice drew enthusiastic audiences to a program of more than 90 acts and 28 workshops.

July: Mount Barker celebrated the opening of stages two and three of the Collet Barker Court project, providing further independent living accommodation for seniors and an on-site club house. The GSDC is a long-term supporter of the project. Cranbrook hosted the Southwest Interclub Series motocross event as it formally opened a new scrutineering and first aid shelter at the Sukey Hill motorcycle track.

August: St John Ambulance unveiled its new bariatric ambulance, which is available throughout the Great Southern to provide safer and more dignified transport for patients with high body mass. Albany Sea Rescue officially opened its shed extension, which enables quick deployment of its Rescue 1 boat.

September: Bremer Bay celebrated two significant projects, officially launching its civic square and skate park precinct and its airfield water bomber turnaround on the same day. Hidden Treasures of the Great Southern launched the 2018 Bloom Festival at Cranbrook, kicking off 80 events across nine local government areas.

October: Pingrup hosted the closing event of the Bloom Festival, and also celebrated the completion of the town’s Community and Sporting Pavilion redevelopment. Healthy and sustainable eating was in the spotlight at the Food for Thought Festival. Nominations opened for the 2018-19 GSDC Medal.

November: Applications were received for the RED Grants scheme. The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia, visited key projects in Albany including GSDC-supported initiatives such as the affordable student accommodation projects in Stirling Terrace and Serpentine Road.

December: Three projects that will benefit Albany and the Great Southern were granted funding through the Regional New Industries Fund. Processing of RED Grants applications continued. Nominations closed for the GSDC Medal and assessment started.

Throughout the year, the GSDC published Facebook posts to help regional businesses improve their access to State Government tender opportunities in the Great Southern. If you are in business in the region or involved in a community organisation, follow the GSDC on Facebook to keep up with tender and grant opportunities.

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