Media Releases


Uncertainty for Bridgetown-Greenbushes as State proposes incentives for Collie jobs

4 February 2020

The Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes is aware of ongoing discussions and associated media coverage indicating the Western Australia Government intends to commercially support measures to incentivise employment opportunities from Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine expansion for residents of the neighbouring Shire of Collie, ahead of local opportunities for residents of Bridgetown-Greenbushes despite the mining operation being on the doorstep of the Greenbushes townsite.

Of the 500 additional, full-time equivalent employment opportunities the expansion of operations at the Greenbushes mine is forecast to create, the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes anticipated approximately 350 of these positions would provide residential, community-based employment. As such, these jobs represent a significant development opportunity through the provision of a much-needed boost to the local population as well as all of the associated flow-through benefits from corresponding economic activity, which had been planned for over the past 12 - 18 months.

However, the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes has significant concerns around a proposed strategy by the State Government to influence Talison Lithium and incentivise Collie residents to capitalise on these employment opportunities via a Government offer to commercially underwrite a commuter bus service for Collie residents to-and-from the Greenbushes mine.

Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes President John Nicholas said the Council would continue to engage with relevant Cabinet Ministers to seek support for its strategic initiatives and ambitious development plans as well as to seek clarity on the Government’s position in regard to preferential treatment of Collie residents over Bridgetown-Greenbushes locals for jobs at the lithium mine that bears the town of Greenbushes name.   

“I share the concerns raised by our local Nationals Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman in a statement last week in response to questions from local residents around what appears to be a politically motivated move to prioritise jobs for Collie, despite more than $20 million in grants already being made available for future employment opportunities in that town as part of its transition away from dependency on coal mining and associated industries,” Mr Nicholas said.  

Collie has also been the focus of other Government support including the Collie Futures Fund, designed to drive economic diversity and create jobs in the region on the back of the announced retirement of the coal-fired Muja Power Station’s two C units from October 2022. While an important initiative to ensure the Shire of Collie continues to be a sustainable population centre, the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes has its own regional development challenges.

“Despite many people picturing our Shire as a leafy green grove in the State’s South-West, food producers in the region have been heavily impacted by the prevailing dry and hot conditions faced by many primary producers around Australia. This has been recognised by the Federal Government, which has provided funding to the Shire via the Drought Communities Programme to help deliver much needed improvements to local infrastructure and amenities to boost regional tourism,” Mr Nicholas said.

“Despite the Commonwealth’s recognition of these issues, the State Government remains non-committal in backing the Shire’s proactive Regional Growth Strategy designed to drive town population, generate economic growth and provide new employment opportunities, maximising the stimulus from Greenbushes mine expansion.”

The strategy includes projects such as the development of a light industrial area near the Greenbushes lithium mine to provide secure employment in peripheral industries as well as training opportunities for locals in skills that have both national and international applications decades into the future.

“It would be a severe blow to the only town in the South-West to be granted Historic Town Status by the National Trust, if the State Government follows-through on its plan to support Collie locals over those more logically placed to fill these newly created jobs in Bridgetown-Greenbushes, and in doing so annul the anticipated opportunity for the Shire to enjoy a better, brighter future for its existing and future residents,” he said.


Drought Funding Announced for Bridgetown-Greenbushes

4 February 2020

On 28 January 2020, the  Shire received a call from Rick Wilson to advise that the Australian Government announced that it would provide funding under the Drought Communities Program (DCP) to a further 52 Councils experiencing hardship due
to drought.

The Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes is one of the eligible councils who will be provided up to $1 million.

This funding aligns in a timely fashion with Council’s Growth Strategy which is aimed at supporting regional economic development via significant projects including the Blackwood River Foreshore, Bridgetown Youth Precinct and Bridgetown Town Hall Revitalization projects.  These projects are all at, or near, ‘project ready’ stage.  Shire staff will liaise with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to ensure this funding opportunity is maximised.

Importantly, this investment by the Federal Government in our community provides an ideal opportunity for Council to continue to lobby the State Government and leverage state investment in our communities to align with the Talison mine expansion.  In particular the development of a light industrial area in Greenbushes, upgrades to the Greenbushes Sportsground Precinct and upgrades to parking and pedestrian access in the Greenbushes shopping precinct are all projects identified in the Growth Strategy that improve liveability for residents to support the preference for a residential work force to support the mine expansion.

John Nicholas
Shire President


40km/hr Speed Limit – Hampton Street

“Today I attended a launch by The Hon. Michelle Roberts Minister for Police and Road Safety to announce the reduction of speed through Bridgetown and three other towns along South West Highway. The 40km/hr trial will commence at the end of January and run through to May 2020.

“I believe this is a great beginning to improve the road safety for all residents in Bridgetown and must be seen as the catalyst to having the speed limit reduced to 40km/hr on a permanent basis. Community members and the Shire have been working with respective agencies to have the reduction introduced for many years without success, but and now with the support of the Member for Collie, Mick Murray, and the Minister for Police and Road Safety, Michelle Roberts, a trial will be implemented between January and May 2020. During the trial a representative group will meet to assess the benefits of the trial with the clear aim of having it permanently introduced.

“If you have any comments on this initiative please send them to the Shire office so they may be collected as part of the trial analysis.”

 

John Nicholas JP

Shire President

21 January 2020