December 2013 -  E-Newsletter

New Minister for Regional Development

Minister Redman

Following the resignation of Brendon Grylls, MLA, from the WA ministry, Terry Redman, MLA, has been appointed Minister for Regional Development and Lands. The announcement was made by Premier Colin Barnett on 6 December andhe was sworn in on December 11.

Minister Redman was first elected to Parliament in 2005. He was appointed to the Ministry in December 2010 and, up to his current appointment,  has held a number of  portfolios including Agriculture and Food, Forestry, Corrective Services, Training and Development and Water.

Minister Redman has been a staunch defender of regional interests, championing improved services and infrastructure for people who live and work in country WA.

Outback Way to receive $33 million

Pre electionOutback sign near Lavertons promises became a reality when Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon. Warren Truss, confirmed at the National Local Roads and Transport congress held in Alice Springs in November, that Cabinet has cleared $33 million for upgrades to the Outback Way. 

Spread over three years, the funds will be used for upgrades to the 2,800 Outback Way, which spans over three states and links Laverton in Western to Australia to Winton in Queensland, via Alice Springs and the Red Centre over 2,800 km.  The funds are expected to be released after July 2014 and will contribute to the sealing of some sections of the remaining 1,800 km of unsealed road.

Chair of the Outback Highway Development Council, Patrick Hill said he was pleased with the announcement and that the OHDC would start seeking to match these funds dollar for dollar from States and Territory contributions. However, we are ready to proceed now, he said and "one way or another, it will be happening". According to Laurinda Hill, Manager of the Great Beyond Visitor's Centre in Laverton, the highway is already responsible for a significant increase in tourism in the region.

The GEDC welcome the decision as it had met with Warren Truss prior to the election and advocated strongly for his support of the Outback Way.

Vet Awards Breakfast - a Red Carpet Affair

Goldfields students of secondary school Vocational Education and Training (VET) were treated to a red carpet experience recently with the Oscar themed 2013 VET Award presentation. The Awards breakfast held on Friday 1st November at the Graduates Hall, featured inspiring guest speakers, entertainment by North Kalgoorlie Primary School Choir, and the Revelry ‘Hollywood’ photo booth all part of  an ‘event to remember’ . 
Vet awards students
Organised by Maria Gaspar, School Business Community Partnership Broker, in association with the Goldfields VET Network group, schools were invited to nominate their top students for a number of awards. Students had to demonstrate achievement of vocational studies, excellent workplace knowledge and skill development, and present professionally in a three person Panel interview.

Georgia Varian achieved Workplace VET student of the year;  Page McMillan and Romy Wynands  both achieved the  Workplace VET Excellence award; Remi Elle Mortimer, School based trainee award and  Liam McAtakney, Workplace VET Education support student of the year. Zoe Rundle, who secured the Workplace Indigenous VET student of the year for the second year in a row, made a short presentation of her experiences in the VET program, her achievements in completing her traineeship and securing employment with the Commonwealth Bank, and of her long term commitment to act as a role model to other young people. 

An Employer of the Year Award was also presented.  “ While  all of the workplaces were excellent,  Bunnings stood out in the way that they enabled Liam, the Student of the Year,  to have positive and meaningful work, feeling confident in himself and understanding that he is a valuable member of the team” Ms Gaspar commented.

The Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission participated as a member of the VET Network and with its role in regional workplace development.

Menzies in the spotlight

The crucial part  Menzies is likely to play in the development of the iron ore industry  in the coming years was highlighted at a Heads of Agency meeting GEDC CEO Robert Hicks recently convened in the town. As CEO of the Yilgarn Producers Association, David Utting, stated,  "Menzies will be a key part of the supply chain for iron ore miners north of the town and it will face a growth surge with a light industrial area needed, in addition to a co-located multi-user iron ore truck to rail load out facility, truck logistics and maintenance depots and workshops".  Participants at the meeting were able to assess first hand the future requirements of the town.
Heads of Agency Meeting at Menzies
In early July this year, the GEDC convened a meeting of representatives from government and industry to discuss the progress of major infrastructure projects and their impact on regional development. This was followed by a further meeting in September between the Shire of Menzies, miners, State Member Wendy Duncan MLA, rail and road operators, construction and business services as well as government agencies.

One of the outcomes of the meeting was a decision to work with Landcorp to open up a new industrial area.  Now that Mindax has signed a joint venture with a Hong Kong company, and that Golden West Resources has won approval for mining its Wiluna West Mine, the situation is becoming more urgent and the GEDC is working with the Shire and miners to source funding for additional resources for the Shire, including a new project officer.

Arts and Culture Trail on the cards for the Goldfields-Esperance region

GEDC Janice Kendall has been busy travelling through the region in the last couple of months to gauge support on the possible establishment of an Arts and Culture Trail. She has conducted face to face workshops with arts and community groups in Esperance, Ravensthorpe, Hopetoun, Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie-Boulder and will be visiting the Northern Goldfields in December.Gate Art - Ravensthorpe

The trail, which could ultimately extend over 2,320 km, could be the longest in Australia and would extend from the South West  (Ravensthorpe) to Warburton in the North-East and include Hopetoun, Esperance, Norseman, Coolgardie, Kambalda, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Menzies, Laverton, Leonora and small communities in between.

It is proposed that the trail include art galleries, public art, museums, cultural and heritage sites, cultural events, arts and creative groups. The aim would be to raise awareness of what currently exists, attract new visitors to the region and encourage existing visitors to extend their stay thus providing good economic outcomes for the region. At this early stage, brochures, a website and phone apps have been put forward as indispensible tools for the trail.

You are all invited and encouraged to participate in this on line survey, which will only take a few minutes.

Locals have their say

Goldfields-Esperance locals have had their say  this month in the development of important documents for the region, the Goldfields-Esperance Regional Housing Strategy and the Esperance Regional Economic Development Strategy.

The development of a Regional Housing strategy is part of a state-wide demand and supply forecasting project, which aims to develop the evidence base to assist decision makers to plan and provide optimal housing allocation fo the region. The range of issues canvassed will include cost of developing housing, social housing access, access to finance, housing age and quality, suitability of current housing  and mix, capacity of infrastructure to service development and risks and challenges for the housing market. The GEDC is coordinating the consultation.
Esperance consultation
The development of the Esperance Regional Economic Development Strategy is a project of the GEDC,  in partnership with the shires of Esperance, Dundas, Ravensthorpe, and the Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry . Consultants from AEC, an international economic consulting firm,  spent time in Esperance to seek residents' opinions and ideas to inform and strongly influence the basis of the strategy. It will provide a unique and exciting opportunity to understand and address both the strengths and weaknesses our region exhibits, along with the emerging economic opportunities and ongoing challenges in the future.

St Barbara Parade a hit with Goldfields crowds

dump truck down Hannan St

Thousands of Goldfielders and visitors lined up Hannan Street on Saturday 7 December for the annual St Barbara Festival parade, the major event in the four day Festival which first started in 1999.

The festival recognises the ongoing socio-economic contributions the mining sector makes to the region and it is a way for the local community to come together to celebrate all that is great about living in Australia’s largest regional outback city!  As described by  Festival Chairman Russel Cole,  “the Festival has become a key event on the annual community calendar, representing the great partnership between the mining industry and the local community”.  More than 50 community groups joined the parade followed by large mining equipment and trucks. The highlight was undoubtedly the pink Caterpillar 792 haul truck making its way down the main street.

The Festival started with a memorial service, coordinated by GEDC CEO, Robert Hicks,  to acknowledge and commemorate more than 1200 men and women who have died while at work in the mining industry in the Goldfields since gold was first discovered in 1893.


New Courthouse opens in Kalgoorlie-Boulder

Premier and dignitaries at opening of new Court House

$41.3 million renovation to transform the iconic heritage listed Government Office building and former Post Office in Kalgoorlie into a state of the arts, contemporary courthouse came to fruition early this month when Premier Colin Barnett officiated at the official opening of the new facility.

In addition to the provision of high quality infrastructure and better service delivery to the region, "the investment in the courthouse has the additional benefit of restoring and preserving an historic landmark" said Premier Barnett.

The four-courtroom complex includes a jury courtroom for criminal sittings of the Supreme and District Courts, plus the provision to expand to a fifth courtroom when required.

Blue Print  and Goldfields Revitalisation

Two major projects have kept the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission busy over the past months: the Regional Investment Blueprint and the Goldfields-Esperance Revitalisation initiatives. The development of a Regional Investment Blueprint to help guide the strategic direction of the regions future was one of the recommendations of the Duncan Review of the Regional Development Commissions. The GEDC, in collaboration with the Kalgoorlie Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KBCCI), has started the process. Consultants have been appointed and have started consultation in the region. The Blueprint will establish a clear set of aspirations for the region and be a foundation document that triggers and guides regional investment initiatives. . A draft report is expected by the end of February.

The Goldfields-Esperance Revitalisation initiative is a $186 million Royalties for Regions State Budget funding initiative over four financial years that will be available for priority infrastructure projects in the Goldfields- Esperance region. This initiative will be an important mechanism for investment that will feed into the Regional Investment Blueprint. 
Funding has been allocated across 4 financial years. $1.5 million has been allocated in 2013-2014, while the program will ramp up in 2015-16 and 2016-17 with allocations of $38 million and $52.3 million respectively.
$89.2 million has been committed to three key initiatives, the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School ($45 million), the Goldfields Arts Centre ($6.2 million) and Great Eastern Highway overtaking lanes ($38 million).

GEDC Board welcomes new members

The Board of the GEDC will have a new look in the New Year when two newly appointed members take their seat around the table.  Former Member for Kalgoorlie, John Bowler,  will replace former Board Member Tony Bright whose term expired, and his appointment will take effect from 10 March 2014. Cr Matt Taylor, of the Shire of Leonora has been appointed to the Board to replace former representative and Shire President Jeff Carter who did not stand for re-election.

Vacancies currently exist for three positions: one Community, one Local Government and one Ministerial Representatives. Nominations have been called and people interested in nominating for the Community Representative position are invited to lodge their application before January 4, 2014.

Xmas message from CEO

What a year it’s been! Christmas Tree in KalgoorlieFederal, state and local government elections have made for an enthralling past 12 months. How time flies in Regional Development with Christmas upon us!  feels like yesterday that we  were celebrating this important annual event. When we reflect on the past 12 months, its worth reminding ourselves of the many achievements of the GEDC in that time.

Highlights include the State Government’s commitment of $186m to the Goldfields-Esperance Revitalisation initiative, significant progress of the PortLink concept, opening of the new $43m courthouse, works commenced on the new $232m Goldfields prison, works well advanced on the Esperance Port Access Corridor and Esperance foreshore projects, $33m Commonwealth commitment to the Outback Way and implementation of the SuperTowns growth plan, to name a few. Royalties for Regions has transformed regional WA as we have seen projects that have received Royalties for Regions funding get off the ground.

Christmas is a time to renewal and recharge our batteries as we anticipate an exciting 2014.  More importantly it is about family & friends and a time to refresh with those we most love. We look forward to 2014 with much anticipation as we progress the many initiatives developed throughout 2013. Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2014.

Robert Hicks