Shire News 


Best of the West Competition – Nominate Someone Locally

Wednesday 23 September 2020  

Channel 9 and Bankwest are partnering to support people in WA who are making a real difference, who need a helping hand, or who are doing it tough.   If you know someone who could benefit from $5,000 – it can be a group or an individual – why not take a few minutes to nominate them online here.

Worthy recipients will be announced fortnightly on the Sunday 9News at 6pm commencing on 16 August.  The competition is open to permanent residents of Western Australia.   The competition runs through until 4 April 2021.

Sometimes we all need a helping hand or to be recognised and thanked.  Even if the person or group you nominate doesn’t win the cash, they will know they were valued and appreciated enough to be nominated. 

So, who do you know in our community who deserves a chance?


Volleyball Takes Off in Bridgetown

Monday 21 September 2020 

High interest in volleyball has triggered a new Wednesday night sporting activity at the Bridgetown Leisure Centre.  Seventy five people turned up on the first evening of the social volleyball competition which currently has 12 teams competing.  Surprisingly a large number of players come from Bunbury, Manjimup and Bunbury as well as Bridgetown.

The competition was initiated by local Mel Schober who was super keen to get some volleyball action happening. In supporting this initiative we have discovered that volleyball isn’t available in many towns. This is a great example of providing services in Shire facilities that meet current community needs. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have interests or ideas that are not currently available so we can explore the possibilities around delivering more activities that align with community interest levels. You can do this by contacting the Shire directly or completing a community scorecard survey which you can access here.

To find out more about the community scorecard survey please refer to our earlier story Shire Strategic Planning & Community Consultation.

We hope volleyball participation numbers continue.  If you haven’t started but are keen to join this competition it’s not too late just stop by or call the Bridgetown Leisure Centre on 9761-2966.


Be Waterwise & Swap Your Shower Head

Friday 18 September 2020

From 1 October 2020 through until 31 May 2021, if you are an existing Water Corporation customer, you will be able to swap your existing shower head for a waterwise option! 

The Shire will be a ‘swap location’ for 2 types of showerheads - the Posh High Rise and Posh Hand Held.  The process for participating is:

  • You arrive at the Shire location with your showerhead and water bill details.  If you don’t have a bill or letter, you can still receive the swap if you have an account number.
  • Shire staff will input your details via an online form. This is an important part of the Showerhead Swap program to ensure showerheads are recorded accurately.
  • Once details are collected from you, Shire staff will provide you with terms and conditions to take home and swap the old showerhead for the new water efficient showerhead.
  • You can dispose of old showerheads at the Shire for local scrap recycling (after the program start date of 1 October 2020).

This is a great way to start becoming a water wise consumer of our precious natural resources.  You can learn more about this Water Corporation initiative here.


Bridgetown & Greenbushes to Feature in SBS Trail Towns

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Along with the Shires of Manjimup, Nannup, Donnybrook-Balingup we will be participating in this exciting opportunity in 2021. 

Trail Towns is Australia's first trails tourism dedicated program that gives regional holiday goers everything they need to know to plan their next active holiday.  The show’s producers aim to get people excited about exploring regional Australia and New Zealand by showcasing everything that our stunning trail towns have to offer. 

Every visitor and town is unique. For some, its mountain biking, for others, it's rail trails, winery tours, horse trails, culinary trails or road riding. Gravel bike riding is exploding in popularity in some areas and, for others, it's a gentle ride with the family checking out the local places of interest and opening up a world of opportunity. 

Trail Towns will tell our story in a way that converts viewers into visitors. Working closely with each Shire, the production team will develop a unique 6 minute spiel for each Shire to highlight our unique attractors.  You can view a Trails Town program trailer here

If you would like share any thoughts or ideas around this opportunity please contact Elizabeth Denniss at the Shire on 9761-0800. 


Containers for Change

Monday 14 September 2020 

Containers for Change provides an exciting opportunity for community groups, sporting clubs and charities to raise much-needed funds by encouraging members of the community to donate their 10c refund.

Community groups can become a physical donation point, having a bin or cage on-site where people can safely drop off their eligible containers. These donated containers are then accepted by the local Containers for Change Refund Point and the community group receives their cash or electronic donation.

The official Refund Point for the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes is located at the Bridgetown Waste Facility and is managed by Hastie Waste. Interested Groups are encouraged to contact Hastie Waste to organise their container drop-offs.

Alternatively, community groups can become a virtual Donation Point, setting up a Containers for Change Scheme ID online and distributing this Scheme ID to supporters. Anyone returning eligible containers to a Refund Point can then donate their refund to the group via your Scheme ID, with refunds transferred via direct deposit into your group’s nominated bank account. 

You can learn more and register your group for a Scheme ID here.


Financial Assistance for Farmers

Friday 11 September 2020 

If you are a farmer, farm worker, farm supplier or farm contractor facing hardship due to drought you could be entitled to mediate financial support of up to $3,000 the second round of the Drought Community Support Initiative.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development has prioritised funding to assist Farmers, Farm Workers (includes Saleyard and Abattoir workers) and Farm Suppliers and Contractors who have been impacted by reduced rainfall.

To be eligible you need to be over 18, an Australia citizen or permanent resident and live or work in an eligible local government area.  The Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes is an eligible local government area and St Vincent de Paul is the agency administering funding for our Shire.  You can apply online here. if you need assistance with the online nomination form your local Community Resource Centre can help. To learn more about this assistance you can also call 1300-846-643 Monday to Friday from 6am to 6pm. The funding round closes in December 2020.


Australia Day

Wednesday 9 September 2020 

As we continue to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 the need for community celebration is strong.  Each year, on Australia Day, the Community Citizen of the Year Awards gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of individuals and groups within our community. 

Who makes a real difference to you, in your community?  You can nominate them online in 1 of 4 categories; Citizen of the Year; Youth Citizen of the Year, Senior Citizen of the Year or Active Citizenship (group or event).  You can nominate online here.  if you need assistance with the online nomination form your local Community Resource Centre can help.  Nominations close on 31 October 2020.

Let’s reflect, respect and celebrate community contribution across our state on Australia Day. In anticipation of Western Australia moving into Stage 5 Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions, the Shire’s Australia Day Breakfast is being planned for Tuesday 26 January at the Bridgetown Aquatics Complex.  There will be a free breakfast, free entry and the Award Winners will be announced on the day.


Shire Budget Adopted & State Government Investment Announced

Monday 7 September 2020 

Our budget was adopted by Council on Thursday 27 August, the same day that the State Government announced $640,000 investment in 2 key projects for our Shire. You can read the media release regarding the State Government investment here.

The 2 projects are the Blackwood River Foreshore Park Redevelopment and the Bridgetown Town Hall & Civic Centre Revitalization Project. Both of these projects have been planned and developed over the past 2 – 3 years after being identified by the community as high priority. This feedback was gleaned during the community consultation process undertaken 4 years ago to develop the Shire’s Strategic Community Plan. Consultation included a main street ‘wishing tree’; pop up shops; visits with key community and business groups as well as community wide survey and workshop.

The community told us that there was great scope to improve access to the Blackwood River for water based activities and that upgrading trails and trail links within the 13 hectare ‘river park’ was important. The community also identified there was plenty scope to upgrade and refurbish the Historic Town Hall for enhanced art and cultural use. Both projects have been developed to the implementation stage and with investment from the Shire as well as state and federal governments will proceed in the 2020-2021 financial year.

Across the country, all tiers of government are committed to funding projects that will stimulate local economic recovery and development due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacts. Capital works projects like the Foreshore Park and Town Hall will drive economic stimulus, job creation and community benefit.

Our $16.96 million budget is an increase of 17.87% on the 2019-2020 budget because it has a significant focus on major projects with local, state and federal government being invested. You can view the media release regarding the budget here.


Business Advice & Mentoring for Start Ups & SMEs

Friday 4 September 2020 

With communities desiring their local governments to be focused on local economic recovery and jobs, for most local governments, this is a discretionary role, and a new one that has added pressure to existing workloads during the pandemic.
 
Local Government Professionals Association (LG-Pro) have advocated for building business capacity and providing local governments with the ability to facilitate and aid in this capacity building.

As such, it is pleasing that Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly recently announced five organisations selected to provide free business advice and mentoring support to affected start-ups and small to medium enterprise (SMEs) through the X-TEND WA Program.

The providers will use the additional $390,000 funding to support innovative companies in both metropolitan and regional areas, and target all industry sectors.  In June 2020, the Minister announced he was advancing funding of up to $800,000 from the $16.7 million New Industries Fund with $100,000 of this allocated through the X-TEND WA program for business advice and mentoring. 

You can read more about the program here.


State Government Funding – New Tourism Attractions

Wednesday 2 September 2020 

The State Government is inviting proposals for new tourism attractions, experiences and concepts for Western Australia's national (and marine) parks and conservation reserves, as part of the State's COVID-19 recovery.

The call for nature-based tourism opportunities is part of the State Government's Market-led Proposal Policy, with Problem and Opportunity Statements released to harness innovative ideas from the private sector that stimulate the economy and create jobs.

This is potentially an exciting opportunity for local operators to get support for ideas and concepts that they have been considering for the region. The call for proposals is for lands and waters managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), which include some of WA's most eminent visitor destinations. If you are a local operator with an idea please contact the Shire’s Community Services Department (9761-0800) or the South West Development Commission (9777-1555). You can view more information here.


Rates Notices & COVID-19 Hardship Policy

Monday 31 August 2020 

Our Shire Councillors have adopted a COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy.  This Policy is designed to support the whole community in meeting the unprecedented challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the Policy is so that we can offer fair, equitable, consistent and dignified support to ratepayers suffering hardship due to COVID-19, while treating all members of the community with respect and understanding.

Financial hardship is considered to if you are unable to pay rates and service charges without affecting your ability to meet your basic living needs, or the basic living needs of your dependants. We know that COVID-19 may increase the occurrence of payment difficulties, financial hardship and vulnerability in our community.

This Policy is intended to assist all ratepayers experiencing financial hardship regardless of their status, be they a property owner, tenant or business owner.

If you are experiencing financial hardship you are encouraged to contact the Shire.  You will need to provide evidence of hardship and any information about your circumstances that may be relevant for assessment.

We will consider all circumstances, applying the principles of fairness, integrity and confidentiality whilst complying with our statutory responsibilities. We will also take a flexible approach to a range of circumstances for example:

  • Recent unemployment or under-employment
  • Sickness or recovery from sickness
  • Low income or loss of income
  • Unanticipated circumstances such as caring for and supporting extended family

This Policy applies to:

  • Outstanding rates and service charges as at the date of adoption of this policy; and
  • Rates and service charges levied for the 2020/21 financial year.

After a full assessment of your circumstances a decision will be made on the options available to you in alignment with the Policy, this may include:

  • Payment plan arrangements
  • Removal of administration fees for the duration of the payment plans
  • Deferment of rates
  • Suspension of debt recover until 31 December 2020

In line with the Local Government (COVID-19 Response) Order 2020 any ratepayer identified as suffering hardship due to COVID-19 impacts will not incur late payment interest charges.

If you are experiencing financial hardship for other reasons please contact us to discuss your specific needs so we can discuss repayment options with you.

To discuss this Policy further please contact Steve Roberts, Finance Officer, on 9761-0800.  You can view the policy here.


Shire Strategic Planning & Community Consultation

Wednesday 26 August 2020 

Every 4 years the Shire engages in extensive community consultation to check in with the community on a range of issues and to seek community input into the future of the Shire.  This consultation forms the basis of the Strategic Community Plan which can be viewed here. This plan gives Councillors and Shire staff the strategic framework and direction we operate under.  Specific actions are then identified to progress those strategic objectives.  These actions are formalized and documented in the Shire’s Corporate Business Plan.

The Corporate Business Plan is reviewed by Councillors and the Executive Leadership Team annually as one of the first steps in the preparation of the annual budget. Actions in the Plan are prioritized to cover a 4 year period so the actions and budget allocations align with the Strategic Community Plan.  You can view the Corporate Business Plan here.

This year we will be taking a different approach to our community consultation.  We are working in partnership with CATLYSE, a consulting firm who have worked with approximately ¾’s of the Shires in Western Australia. 

CATLYSE have a unique approach that will benchmark our performance (based on the community’s feedback via a ‘scoretable survey’ against other Shires.  The survey and consultation process will still inform the development of the Strategic Community Plan as well as providing a more measurable approach to the process.

CATALYSE recently worked with LG Professionals WA and the State Government to measure our state-wide resilience in response to COVID-19. If you missed our news story on that process and results you can view it here.


Southern Forests and Blackwood Valleys - Promoting Our Tourism Region

Monday 24 August 2020 

The Southern Forests & Blackwood Valley Tourism Association is our regional tourism association.  The Association has been actively promoting our region as a unique tourism experience and brand. The Association was formed after years of consultation with the local and regional tourism operators and wider business community.  This news article touches on some of the key opportunities that the Association has brokered in an attempt to raise the profile of our region.

The Association brokered a great deal for TV promotion whereby local businesses could advertise on GWN7, 7Mate and 7Two ($1,215 for 3 months of advertising!).  The Emergence Campaign was also supported with TV advertising by the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes to promote Bridgetown, Greenbushes and the Regional Bridle Trail.  This campaign will roll out from August/September 2020 for 3 months and is aimed at capturing the ‘COVID19 restricted WA traveller’ to encourage local and regional tourism and economic recovery.  You can view the details of the campaign here.

The Association has also promoted the opportunity to feature on SBS Trail Towns. This will result in a unique 30 minute TV program highlighting the region as a mountain bike, horse riding, kayaking and walk trail recreation tourism destination. The Shires of Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Manjimup and Nannup as well as Donnybrook-Balingup and the Association itself are all funding partners for this program.  Stay tuned for more details including airing dates!

Louise Stokes, Chairperson of the Association recently chatted to Barry Green on Radio WA about tourism in our region.  You can hear the full interview here.

Developing a brand to market the region to the wider state, national and international tourism markets was always a key focus. New signage aligned with the Association’s logo and tagline is also currently being designed to welcome visitors to the Southern Forests & Blackwood Valley region where visitors can experience “a world away from the everyday.”


The 132nd Bridgetown Agricultural Show

Friday 21 August 2020 

This week we meet with Colleen Russell from the Bridgetown Agricultural Show to hear about how the Ag Society Committee have been faring this year, amidst the upheaval of COVID-19 and trying to plan a significant event in the face of ongoing uncertainty.

Colleen shared the challenges of trying to determine what level of event could possibly occur when we don’t yet know when stage 5 of lifting of restrictions will occur.  Whatever level of freedom we have in the community, we learned that the Ag Society Committee are really keen to ensure there is a Show - or “No Show” as it has been affectionately dubbed! - on 28 November. 

To learn more about this community celebration will possibly look like, watch the interview here. If you are interested in assisting organizing, perform, support or participate in the Show please click here.


Our COVID-19 Resilience Measured Webinar

Wednesday 19 August 2020 

Last week we shared the preliminary findings of the state-wide survey undertaken by CATALYSE with support from LG Professionals WA and funding from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.  This week, the Minister for Local Government, David Templeman, officially launched the results of the online survey which mapped community wellbeing and resilience across WA during the pandemic.  You can view the webinar here.

The MARKYT® Community Resilience Scorecard was undertaken from 5 June to 8 July 2020 and completed by 7,666 residents aged 18 years and over, of 128 local governments across WA, from the Kimberley to the Great Southern.  The survey results will help local governments determine priorities and action required to respond to COVID-19. This includes how to cope with short-term disruption; how to anticipate, prepare and adapt to longer-term changes; and how to build hope, trust and confidence that WA is on the path to recovery.

Local communities across Western Australia have shown strength and resilience in response to the pandemic. The key findings from survey and its report include:

  • Community members are happy with local government responses to COVID-19 and have confidence and trust in local government to make good decisions;
  • Main priorities for local government were economic recovery, community health and wellbeing, local infrastructure, recovery plan, support services and community safety;
  • The top five concerns were family and friends getting sick, recovery of the local economy, personal finances, staying connected and work and employment opportunities.

You can view the preliminary and final reports of the research here

Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes Councillors continue to address decision making in alignment with the main priorities and concerns identified above.  We will soon start community consultation to guide the development of the next ‘Strategic Community Plan’ and we will be working with the same company CATALYSE to helps us measure your feedback on the local level.


The Darling Buds of May - Bridgetown Rep

Monday 17 August 2020 

When we interviewed Rob Snelling and Christine Chilvers from the Bridgetown Repertory Club in July we gained insights into how COVID-19 had impacted the committee and members of the Rep. 

We also learned about their first “Post COVID” production – the Darling Buds of May. In discussing this production we also learned how local theatre is received by the community, not just in terms of ‘entertainment’ but also the positive mental and emotional impact live theatre can generate.

It was interesting to hear how an amateur group can aim for, and deliver, a high level of professionalism and the challenges of striving to deliver an eclectic mix of genres to keep audiences interested and attracted new patrons and participants. You can view the interview here.

The Rep has recently moved to an online ticketing platform, but tickets are still available at the door.

The Darling Buds of May runs from 10th – 20th September at Bridgetown Theatre. Tickets on sale via www.bridgetownrepertoryclub.com.au.


Our COVID-19 Resilience Measured

Friday 14 August 2020 

Across WA 7,666 community members participated in a state-wide survey undertaken by CATALYSE with support from LG Professionals WA and funding from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries from 5th June to 8th July 2020.  The online scorecard was open to all residents aged 18+ across Western Australia.  We promoted the opportunity to participate in this survey extensively via our Facebook Page. For those of you who participated here are some of the preliminary responses:

  • Overall general health only dropped 2 index points across Western Australian communities during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 69% of respondents feel hopeful and enthusiastic about the future
  • Respondents are happy with Local Government's response to COVID-19, scoring overall performance 68/100 with a 'good' average rating

A majority of community members:

  • Believe Local Government has demonstrated clear thinking and decision making
  • Feel Local Government has shown empathy and compassion
  • Have confidence and trust in Local Government to make good decisions
  • Agree there are good health and safety practices in place at community facilities to manage COVID-19 risk.

The survey also identified that the main recovery principles for local government are:

  • 48% - economic recovery and local employment opportunities
  • 37% - community health/wellbeing, sport/recreation, library, community development
  • 35% - local infrastructure to improve roads, footpaths, cycle ways, facilities, internet
  • 35% - recovery plan in collaboration with local business and community
  • 27% - support services for people most vulnerable to COVID-19
  • 26% - community safety and crime prevention

It is great to see the level of community involvement in these types of surveys which inform local and state government direction.  The main recovery principles listed above align with the state governments COVID-19 Recovery Plan, which means we do seem to be ‘in this together’ as we move forward. You read the CATALYSE Preliminary report here. 

Community Consultation: Review of Local Laws

Wednesday 12 August 2020 

The Local Government Act 1995 allows the Shire to make local laws.  We have a number of local laws to help manage, regulate and control a range of activities in the Shire.  The Act requires us to review local laws within an 8 year period after commencement to assess if any changes are needed.  We are now reviewing 11 local laws.

They are:

  • Activities on Thoroughfares and Trading in Thoroughfares & Public Places Local Law (last reviewed August 2016)
  • Bush Fire Brigades Local Law (last reviewed August 2016)
  • Cats (last reviewed January 2019)
  • Cemeteries (last reviewed August 2016)
  • Dogs (last reviewed August 2016)
  • Fencing (last reviewed August 2016)
  • Health (last reviewed August 2016)
  • Local Government Property (last reviewed August 2016)
  • Parking & Parking Facilities (last reviewed July 2017)
  • Pest Plants (last reviewed August 2016)
  • Standing Orders (last reviewed September 2014)

To find out more about our local laws and how to make a submission for inclusion in the review process please click here.


WA State Government COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Monday 10 August 2020 

Western Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been called world-leading, and the State Government is now looking ahead to recovery.

The WA Recovery Plan can be viewed here.

While the focus on getting industry back on its feet and fast-tracking WA jobs, the Safety Plan also reflects a strong commitment to community safety, supporting people who have been most affected and protecting the most vulnerable.

The recovery priorities seek to improve business and consumer confidence, employment opportunities and growth.


Impact of COVID-19 on Health and Wellbeing

Friday 7 August 2020 

In our local communities it seems, in many ways, that the COVID-19 threat and impacts are now over.  We are very fortunate in the south west of Western Australia.   But the impacts of the pandemic are still affecting us in ways we are not always aware of.  COVID-19 is continuing to have a huge national impact in economic as well as health and wellbeing terms.

University of Melbourne and National Ageing Research Institute researchers, together with their counterparts in the USA and UK, want to understand more about the effects of COVID-19 on wellbeing, mental health, social functioning, physical health, and use of services.

An international social study of the health and wellbeing impacts of COVID-19 is open to all adults aged over 18 living in Australia, including non-citizens and non-residents. People do not have to be in isolation or quarantine or diagnosed with COVID-19 to take part. To participate or learn more about the study please click here or you can read a more comprehensive article on the study here.


A Call for a Strategic Approach to Regional Development in Australia

Wednesday 5 August 2020 

An expert panel has backed Senate calls for a White Paper supporting a strategic approach to development in regional Australia. It has also recommended the Commonwealth reform its approach to regional development funding and “substantially increase” funding to Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committees.

The Regions at the Ready report was published by the Senate Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation in 2018.  It included 13 recommendations to “support and promote the economic development of regional communities” through such means as beefing up the Regional Development Australia program and decentralising federal government agencies.

The panel was convened by the Federal Government after it agreed to “undertake a targeted assessment of the key issues raised in the [Regions at the Ready] report, including the development of a White Paper”.  You can access the Regions at the Ready report here.

Elaborating on its recommendation that the Commonwealth reform its approach to regional development funding, the panel said this should be done through the implementation of three complementary funding streams: Regional Deals, a Regional Investment Fund, and a Rural Development Fund. The panel also recommended that the Commonwealth commit to delivering Regional Deals to every region across Australia.


How COVID-19 Has Impacted Us - Bridgetown Repertory Club

Monday 3 August 

Recent announcements from the State Government advising that the WA State of Emergency due to COVID-19 may remain in place until December remind us that while things seem normal in many ways, they are still not ‘back to normal’.

We recently meet with Christine Chilvers and Rob Snelling from the Bridgetown Repertory Club to learn how the pandemic impacted theatre goers, performers and performances in Bridgetown.

During times of uncertainty, the need for connection is an important aspect of our health and wellbeing.  Participating in and attending, live theatre (and other artistic performances) is one important way we maintain connection.  We were delighted to learn about the Rep’s first ‘post COVID’ production – The Darling Buds of May.  To watch the first video in this two part interview, please click here.


WA Regional Achievement & Community Awards

Friday 31 July 2020 

Each year the Western Australian Regional Achievement and Community Awards provide opportunity to acknowledge community leaders - local individuals, community groups and businesses.

The purpose of the Western Australian Regional Achievement and Community Awards is to encourage, acknowledge and reward the valuable contributions individuals, communities, and businesses are making throughout regional and rural Western Australia.

The categories for nominations are:

  • Curtin University, School of Education Teaching Excellence Award
  • Insurance Commission of Western Australia Regional Safety Award
  • Prime Super Business Achievement Award
  • Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award
  • RAC Volunteering Award
  • Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award
  • Rinehart Development of Northern Regional WA Award
  • Woolworths Community Group of the Year Award
  • Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Economic Development Award
  • Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries – Making a Difference Award

If you would like to make a nomination please click here. Category winners will each receive some great prize and every nominee will receive a certificate of achievement.

More detail on the award categories and nomination requirements can be found here.


How COVID-19 Has Impacted Us - Bridgetown Football Club

Wednesday 29 July 2020 

It is easy at times to think that everything is back to normal as we enjoy ‘Stage 4 of Eased Restrictions’ Post COVID-19 but the ongoing impacts on sporting and community groups are still significant.  This week we met up with President of the Bridgetown Football Club Steve Holdsworth to hear about the impact of the pandemic on the local footy community.  

The benefit of sport for social, mental and physical health is well known and the disappointment of not having a footy season in the Lower South West has been hard.  To hear what the club and players are currently up to and the plans for next season please click here.

If you have been missing the local footy season and want to reconnect with the Club don’t miss the opportunity to come along to their fundraiser on 8 August 2020. Comedian Pete Rowsthorne (“Brett” of Kath & Kim fame) is doing a show at the Town Hall and - due to COVID-19 - tickets are limited to 100.  Cost is $40 and includes supper with tickets available from Richfeeds 9761-2292.


Art Funding for Regional Artists and Groups

Monday 27 July 2020 

Regional Arts WA have announced two new funding opportunities which have just opened this month. Regional Arts Resilience Grants, funded through the State Government’s Regional Arts and Culture Investment Program, have up to $15,000 for sustaining and supporting creative practice of regional artists, groups, organisations, communities - including local governments - to promote recovery and participation in the regional economy following the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Regional Arts Fund Recovery Grants, supported by the Federal Government's $10 million Recovery Boost, has up to $4,000 for regional artists, arts workers and organisations with immediate needs - including the replacement or purchase, support for arts practice (including self-directed residency/research and development), small projects and professional development opportunities.

Bridgetown and Greenbushes are creative, artistic communities so why not find if you are eligible for funding?  For a collaborative approach you can consider talking to the Shire’s Community Development team and/or Blackwood Creatives!  To find out more about these funding opportunities please click here.


7 D's of Strong Clubs - Free Sporting Club Workshop

Friday 24 July 2020 'image description'

The South West Sport Development Federation has been funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries, to deliver a free workshop to sporting clubs.  The workshop will be held on Thursday 20 August from 6pm – 8.30pm.

The workshop is an interactive and information opportunity for club committees to consider reasons, and actions, to make their clubs stronger.  The content covers 7 key areas that will help position clubs for a vibrant future and includes the benefits of planning, committee member roles and responsibilities, governance and operational structure, volunteer support and ways to improve meetings.

An overview of the workshop can be viewed here. To register please call Shammara Markotis at the Shire of Manjimup on 9771-1777.


Regional Growth

Wednesday 22 July 2020 'image description'

A new Regional Australia Institute report has identified that regional Australia attracted more people than it lost in the five years leading into 2016. This is contrary to popular perceptions that rural populations are declining.

The report, The Big Movers: Understanding Population Mobility in Regional Australia said 65,200 people moved to the country based on 2011 and 2016 Census data.

Millennials (those aged between 20 and 35) were prominent in the overall regional inflow, with one in three indicating they were returning after having earlier moved to six capital city areas.

Between 2011 and 2016 one point two million people either moved to or around the regions.  The top destinations by LGA were Murray River, Uralla, Port Stephens, Yass Valley, and Maitland (NSW); Latrobe, West Tamar, and Kentish (Tasmania); Golden Plains, Mitchell, and Surf Coast (Vic); Isaac, Noosa, and Livingstone (Qld); Ashburton, East Pilbara, and Chittering (WA); and Yankalilla, Victor Harbour, and Light (SA).

The report says growing settlement connectivity, fly-in fly-out work, housing affordability, lifestyle considerations, and perceptions of career advancement are helping fuel the flow of millennials between cities and regions.

To view the Report Fact Sheet please click here.


Shire and Community Drought Funding

Monday 20 July 2020 

The Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes has been identified as drought affected and has access to $1 million funding to assist with infrastructure projects to enhance community resilience and economic growth.  Shire staff continue to liaise with the Federal Government regarding project selection and development to utilise this funding while also seeking to lobby and leverage state government funding for investment in both Bridgetown and Greenbushes to develop key projects.  When the funding model and project selection is finalised the Shire will announce the projects that will be progressing during 2020 and 2021.

Drought is an enduring element of the Australian landscape and rural life and has significant economic, social and environmental impacts.

The (Federal) Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has created a $5 billion Future Drought Fund to provide secure, continuous funding for drought resilience initiatives to help Australian farms and communities prepare for and combat the impacts of drought. 

This funding is not just available to the Shire; it is available to the community, land care groups and farmers/landowners.  To learn more about this Fund please click here.


Shire's Financial Health

Friday 17 July 2020

Western Australian local governments raised more than $2.4 billion in rates during the 2018-19 financial year while managing assets worth more than $45 billion.

These and other key facts from the 2018-19 financial year were published by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries this week – along with a financial health indicator measuring the overall financial health of the state’s 139 local government areas.

The Financial Health Indicator (FHI) is a measurement of a local government’s overall financial health. It is calculated from the seven financial ratios that local governments are required to calculate annually. An FHI result of 70 and above indicates sound financial health. The Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes FHI for the 2018/19 financial year was 65. The FHI is one factor to consider in assessing overall performance. Other factors include: the range of services offered; efficiency of services delivered; and community satisfaction. A very high or low FHI may be a prompt for questions to be asked by the community about a local government’s revenue, expenses and service delivery.

The FHI is best viewed as a trend over time, rather than ‘year by year’.  To view the Shire’s FHI for the 7 year period from 2012/13 through to 2018/19 please click here and then navigate to the FHI Comparisons Tab.


Lotterywest Grant Options for Community Groups

Wednesday 15 July 2020 

In March 2020, the Premier Mark McGowan announced that all available profits from every Lotterywest game sold would go towards the newly created COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Fund is dedicated to supporting not-for-profit organisations and the Western Australian community respond to the impacts of COVID-19. Locally, the Bridgetown Tennis Club has recently been successful in securing funding through the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

The Premier has since announced that the Lotterywest COVID-19 Relief Fund has now provided more than $47.5 million in crucial funding to the Western Australian community.

Whilst the immediate health crisis has passed in Western Australia, COVID-19 has resulted in hardship and secondary impacts. As the needs of the WA community evolve during this time of recovery, the Lotterywest COVID-19 Relief Fund is evolving too.

In 2020-2021, the Fund includes 3 grant programs:

  • Supporting the Most Vulnerable
  • Building Community
  • Strengthening and Adapting Organisations

The programs have been designed to support eligible organisations to assist individuals experiencing hardship, communities wanting to reconnect, and organisations to become stronger for the future.

Please visit the Lotterywest website for further information about these programs and you can also sign up for the mailing list to stay up to date with further details including timeframes.

You can register for an upcoming Lotterywest grants webinar scheduled for 21 July and 29 July at 10am. An email calendar request will be sent with the link for your preferred session within 24 hours of registration.

Lotterywest encourages prospective grant applicants to consider how their proposal might fit with the criteria and call the Lotterywest team to discuss their ideas.  If you need any assistance, call 133 777 or email grants@lotterywest.wa.gov.au.

The Shire’s Community Services Department are also available on 9761 0800 for guidance and assistance in preparing your grant applications.


TV Advertising Opportunity for Local Business

Monday 13 July 2020 

The Southern Forests & Blackwood Valley Tourism Association (SFBVTA) has negotiated a unique television advertising opportunity to promote businesses in, and the Southern Forests & Valleys Region (Shires of Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Manjimup and Nannup).

The television advertising campaign will be featured on GWN, 7Two and 7Mate and allows for an 8 second advert to be produced for each business/attraction within a longer 30 second time slot. Three individual business adverts will be contained within the 30 second time slot and a regional ‘bookend’ image will appear at the start and end of the 30 second advertisement.

To participate, you will need to provide images (still shots and/or video footage) and approximately 20 words to accompany your images.  Production is being undertaken by Manjimup based Paper Napkin.  The cost to participate is $1,215 for 3 months. This equates to a marketing budget of $405 per month.

The prospectus, available here, provides more details and you can contact the GWN representative, Katie Fox on 9792-2897 or via email at Katie.fox@gwn7.com.au for additional information.


Managing Conflict & Difficult People - Online Course

Friday 10 July 2020 

Conflict can arise in sport in many ways.  The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is offering an online course that is designed to develop the skills of coaches, officials and committee members to better prevent, manage conflict and deal with difficult people.

Mental health professionals are advising that there are increased levels of anxiety and stress in the community, even though we are past the ‘immediate crisis’ stage of COVID-19.  Fuses are short and this can cause conflict within clubs, committees and families. 

The course is facilitated by Ian Crawford from Candor Training and Consultancy. Ian is a sought after coach and facilitator with expertise in working with businesses and sports teams to develop and produce high performing cultures through having a greater understanding of themselves and others.

An overview of the course content as well as course dates and times can be viewed here. Each course is limited to 20 participants. You can register for the course here.

For more information, please contact Tony Amoroso, Project Officer – Organisational Development at the Department for Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries on 9492 9617 or email tony.amoroso@dlgsc.wa.gov.au.


Economic Recovery Blueprint

Wednesday 8 July 2020 

The Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) is Australia’s peak body exclusively representing the interesting of small businesses.  Key goals of COSBOA are:

  • Promote and support the development of small businesses in Australia;
  • Advocate to advance the interests of small business in Australia, including through policy change and regulatory reform;
  • Foster an increased awareness and understanding of the role of small business in Australia amongst public servants and elected government officials, larger businesses, the media and the general community.

COSBOA has been proactively supporting economic recovery for small business via the policy recommendations document “COVID-19 Economic Recovery Blueprint”.

The Blueprint is updated regularly and can be viewed here, with a full list of COSBOA's COVID-19 publications available here.

The July update of this document includes updates in the areas of:

  • Developing a more flexible and productive workforce,
  • Copyright laws and collection processes
  • Mental health and wellbeing of the self-employed
  • Insurance
  • Improving Emergency Management

COSBOA have an informative Facebook page which can be accessed here.


Edible Gardening Survey and Initiative

Monday 6 July 2020 

Community Gardens Australia recently launched a national pandemic gardening survey in partnership with Sustain: The Australian Food Network. The aim of the survey is to gauge the extent, impact and meaning of edible gardening across Australia, as well as what people and organisations need in order to continue and expand these vital activities.

In the first week of launching the survey 900 responses were received. The more responses, the more powerfully a case for additional recognition, resourcing and support for edible gardens, community gardens and other forms of urban agriculture can be made to state and federal governments.

A snapshot of responses reveals some interesting insights such as: 

  • Australians have spent substantial amounts of time in edible gardening activities during COVID19
  • Australians derive substantial mental health benefits from being able to spend time growing food and gardening
  • 99% of respondents intend to continue and/or increase their edible gardening activities in the next 12 months 
  • 40% of respondents are looking for varying forms of assistance to do so, in particular access to land, inputs, training and mentoring

To participate in the survey please click here.

If you are interested in a snapshot of what people are saying please visit the Sustain FB page.


Inquiry into the Deployment, Adoption and Application of 5G in Australia 

Friday 3 July 2020 

The Western Australian Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts has concluded its inquiry into 5G Mobile Telecommunications. The final report lists 14 recommendations that address installation, approvals, manufacturing and safety concerns.

Three of the recommendations reflect the views of WALGA's submission. In particular, they recommend a review of the Low-impact Facilities framework that mandates the consultation and approvals process.

The Committee further recommends that carriers work with State and Territory road and transport infrastructure managers to ensure that safety standards are maintained.

The inquiry report is available here.


Does Your Organisation Have a Story to Share?

Wednesday 1 July 2020 

The new digital Collections WA platform showcases unique regional and community collections to the world.

Collections WA is a shared resource that can be used by every community collecting institution across Western Australia to share stories of our unique environment, history, culture, and identity.

Collecting institutions will receive training on the Collections WA platform from the Australian Museums and Galleries Association Western Australia (AMaGA Western Australia), which has been funded through a Lotterywest grant.

Collections WA will connect to the Culture WA portal, which now provides access to WA's four main collecting institutions; Trove, the National Library of Australia's digital search engine; and a tourism portal which will connect with other tourism platforms to drive tourism to the regions.


Council Rates Explained

Tuesday 30 June 2020 

Due to COVID-19 the Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire Council, along with all local government authorities in Western Australia, decided to freeze rates for the 2020-2021 financial year.  The Shire’s COVID19 Community Response Plan can be viewed here.

This rates freeze means that local governments will not be receiving any additional income from rates, but the revaluation process might mean that you could pay more. Subsequently, Council has taken additional measures to ensure no ratepayers in our Shire will incur a rate increase in the 2020-21 financial year.

Rates can be a confusing topic for many of us, especially in the post COVID-19 ‘rates freeze’.  The Western Australian Local Government Association is helping to make information available and have created a great webpage explaining Council Rates, or view their quick and easy fact sheet here.

To view a video providing a summary on what the rates freeze is, why it is important and how rates are calculated, click here.


Support for Carers

Friday 26 June 2020 

The importance of caring for friends and families has been highlighted during the recent COVID-19 Pandemic.  However many of us provide care, either full time or part time, in supporting a loved one through challenges associated with disability, age, mental health, addiction, palliative care etc.  The stress of COVID-19 on top of the normal challenge of being carer might feel overwhelming.

We recently featured a story on Bridgetown based Henri Nouwen House who provide support for carers and people facing life challenges.  You can view that video here.

The Carer Gateway is another avenue of support if you would prefer an online, or telephone based approach to support.  This includes phone based counselling to support you as you support others.  At times we all need to talk to someone and receive emotional and psychological support.  More information on the Carer Gateway services available to you can be found here.

Carer Gateway, in partnership with Helping Minds, also provide opportunity to link carers together, enabling them to share stories and connect with people in similar circumstances.  They also assist you to build on skills so you can support and guide others in a carer role.  You can even explore the possibility of facilitating your own support group (with a Carer Gateway facilitator to support you through the process).

To learn more about the program visit the Helping Minds website, contact Helping Minds on 9427-7100 or email intake@helpingminds.org.au.


Thank a Volunteer Day Grants Program

Wednesday 24 June 2020 'image description'

Grants of up to $1,000 are available for community organisations to host events or activities on National “Thank a Volunteer Day” (Saturday 5th December). 

The Shire hosts an annual “Thank a Volunteer” Function in May each year to align with National Volunteer Week, so if your group would like to do something in December this is a great opportunity!

The grants support communities to celebrate volunteers across the whole of community (not just your own group) and to ensure a balance of events/activities across Western Australia only one grant will be awarded per community.

Applications close on 30 July 2020. For more information please visit the Department of Communities website.


Opportunity for Local Contractors 

Monday 22 June 2020 

Water Corporation will shortly begin construction of the Greenbushes to Kirup Link.

This project will involve the construction of a 16km pipeline between North Greenbushes and Mullalyup.

Water Corporation is currently encouraging local subcontractors to register their interest in taking part in the project.

The subcontractors will work with the main contractor appointed by the Corporation to complete the job.

Interested contractors must register their interest online by 3 July 2020 via this link.


South West “Don’t Trust Your Tired Self” Driver Fatigue Project

 Friday 19 June 2020 

The South West RoadWise “Don’t Trust Your Tired Self” driver fatigue project commenced at The Crooked Carrot Café on Forrest Highway, Myalup on Saturday 23 May after COVID19 restrictions were relaxed.

Drivers travelling down south or up to Perth can stop and take a break at the Crooked Carrot Café and receive a free coffee or tea along with a reusable travel mug and information flier on driver fatigue.  In recent years, the WA Government has been successful in achieving results to lower the incidents of risk-taking behaviours such as drink or drug related driving and speeding, however in the same time there has been a 21% increase in serious fatigue related crashes.

The regional project is encouraging drivers to also participate in an online survey to raise their awareness, test their knowledge and tell us their attitude toward driver fatigue.  The project will continue to be promoted in the South West region until mid-December 2020.

Participants that complete both a pre and post online survey will go in the draw to win one of two $100 vouchers from the Bunbury Farmers Market, to be drawn just before Christmas. The survey can be accessed here.

It is very difficult to quantify with a reasonable degree of precision the incidents of fatigue in serious road crashes, however latest statistics indicate that around 70% of all crashes that result in death or serious injury involve poor decision making, distraction or inattention that are all symptoms of fatigue. 

Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes Councillor and Roadwise Committee member, Jo Moore stated “that this is a very important project because it requires self-recognition and attention. It is too easy to ignore the early warning signs that you are fatigued, which can result in catastrophic events and even death to yourself or others on the road.”

This project is a collaboration between South West local governments including the City of Bunbury, City of Busselton and Shire of Dardanup RoadWise groups. Other locations in the South West region interested in promoting the campaign and offering the cups and fliers can contact Nicky Smith, the WALGA RoadWise, Road Safety Advisor South West on nsmith@walga.asn.au


Community and Sporting Group Resources

Wednesday 17 June 2020 

The impacts of COVID19 on our local sporting and community groups are continuing to be identified and experienced. Lotterywest funding (now closed) has been made available to assist clubs and groups who lost income as a result of the pandemic. If there is a second round, we will certainly let you know.

Locally, the Shire Council released a COVID-19 Community Response Plan which can be viewed here.

The City of Bunbury recently hosted a 1 hour Club webinar last week on “Resilience & Repair” to assist their local sporting clubs and associations in the COVID-19 recovery. They have kindly offered the link to the recording of the session and access to a list of useful resources. The resource list can be accessed here.

The link to the recording can be accessed here. Please note when you press play, you will be only watching a preview - to watch the full video download it or add it to your Dropbox.


Capturing Your Ideas

Monday 15 June 2020 

Communities throughout WA are asked to assist in promoting an online innovation platform, iThink, to support the State's COVID-19 response.

Ideas from all Western Australians are being sought via the iThink platform to help in the COVID-19 pandemic response. The platform, including an online community, is open to all members of the public in WA.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister, Roger Cook and highly respected surgeon and researcher Professor Fiona Wood AM are strong supporters of the iThink initiative. View the video launch here.  Professor Wood and the City of Canning are leading a new innovation hub that will explore the ideas submitted through the Staying Well challenge on the platform.

The ideas captured by the iThink platform are to be assessed, developed and implemented through a number of State Government led COVID-19 response teams that have been established across government departments. 

Some of the best and innovative ideas often come from rural WA so if you have an idea please take the time to visit the iThink platform and share!