News and updates

Exmouth named Top Tourism Town

The resort town of Exmouth has been named the winner of the 2019 GWN7 Top Tourism Town Award at the WA Regional Tourism Conference. Exmouth claimed the Gold Medal in the Top Tourism Town category, with Albany claiming Silver and Esperance taking out Bronze. Exmouth will receive a $25,000 airtime package to promote the town on the regional television network GWN7. Now in its 30th year, the awards program is a major highlight of the State’s tourism calendar, with prizes eagerly coveted by towns and cities across Western Australia. Visitor Centres enter the awards on behalf of their destination, and entrants are required to submit a short video, itinerary and editorial article which is reviewed by a panel of industry judges. Public voting was introduced to the Awards program this year for the first time, with more than 8000 people having their say on their Top Tourism Town. The public praised Exmouth for its “warm weather, the beaches, the gorges, the wildlife, the snorkelling and generally great family fun”. The awards are run by Visitor Centres WA and supported by GWN7, Vanguard Press, Tourism WA and RAC Parks and Resorts.

Research boost supporting Carnarvon horticulture

The State Government is investing $1.4 million in new programs and upgrades at the Carnarvon Research Facility to support a sustainable, profitable and diverse horticultural industry in the Gascoyne. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's Carnarvon Research Facility has been underutilised for years, despite Carnarvon horticulture's significant contribution to the region's economy. The new investment will deliver a research program focused on protected cropping, best practice management and improved biosecurity. New smart technology including remote crop, weather and irrigation monitoring sensors will be demonstrated and a web-based interface is being developed to make the information available to growers and researchers in the region. Recruitment is underway for new horticultural staff to further build capacity through partnerships with local consultants and experienced researchers from both Western Australia and across Australia. Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced the new investment today at the Gascoyne Food Festival in Carnarvon. The Gascoyne Food Festival, an initiative of the Gascoyne Food Council, runs from 7 August to 7 September, with food-focused events held in Carnarvon, Dirk Hartog Island, Red Bluff, Exmouth, Wooramel and Mount Augustus. DPC media statement: Research boost supporting Carnarvon horticulture

WA Museum to reopen Carnarvon cultural centre

Carnarvon's Gwoonwardu Mia Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre will officially reopen later this year under the management of the Western Australian Museum, following a $2.5 million funding commitment by the State Government. The Western Australian Museum has this week taken over general management of the centre, providing opportunities for Aboriginal business development and tourism in the Gascoyne, and celebrating the region's Aboriginal heritage. Funding will support the Museum to repair, reopen and operate the centre for an initial period of three years. The reopened centre's operation proposes an art and retail area, venue and conference facilities for hire and an indigenous interpretative space. A café within the centre has been identified as a potential sub-lease arrangement. Ahead of the centre's official opening, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan presented local NAIDOC awards recognising the outstanding contributions of Aboriginal people and officially closed Carnarvon's NAIDOC Week celebrations in the venue's outdoor space. DPC media statement: WA Museum to reopen Carnarvon cultural centre

Round two RED Grants now open

The State Government is continuing its investment in community-driven projects to create jobs and boost economic growth across regional Western Australia, today opening round two of the Regional Economic Development (RED) Grants program. The State Government has committed $28.8 million over five years towards the RED Grants program for projects that will directly benefit regional communities. Round one investment totalled $6.38 million in 70 projects for initiatives including tourism expansion, Aboriginal training, new industry development and agricultural diversification. Up to $250,000 is available for individual projects that promote sustainable jobs, partnerships, productivity, skills and capability, as well as stimulate new investment in industry diversification. Applications for round two are now open and close on September 13, 2019. More information about the RED Grants program, including guidelines and application details are available from our RED Grants page. DPC media statement: Round two RED Grants now open

DPIRD discuss reconciliation in the workplace

A Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development reference group will develop the organisation's inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which will set out practical actions to support and advance reconciliation.

Gascoyne Development Commission is extremely proud to be represented in the group by Executive Assistant and Aboriginal Economic Development Officer, Carleen Ryder.

The group's work comes as we celebrate and build on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians as part of National Reconciliation Week, which began today.

With this year’s theme being ‘Grounded in truth. Walk together with courage’, it is a time to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Pictured (L-R): Reconciliation Reference Group members Lorelle Williams, Indigenous Professional Services consultant Jahna Cedar (standing), Victoria Aitken, Carleen Ryder, Melissa Hartmann, Lisa Sherriff, Rachel Berman and Kevin May.

RED Grants to support Gascoyne projects

More than $350,000 in grant funding for the Gascoyne region was announced today through the State Government's Regional Economic Development (RED) Grants program.

The projects receiving funding will drive new tourism and economic development opportunities in the region.

Whalebone Brewing Co Pty Ltd will receive $216,470 to install a larger brewing and canning system, enabling the company to increase canning efficiency and widen distribution of their product throughout the Gascoyne region.

The Exmouth-based company is set to double production and distribution of its local craft beer; the grant will also help expand the town's economy.

Dirk Hartog Island Distilleries Pty Ltd will use its grant of $145,434 for the development of the Wirruwana Hub, which will incorporate a visitor centre, bar and café and act as a gateway for visitors and tour operators on Dirk Hartog Island.

DPC media statement: RED Grants to support Gascoyne projects

RADS grant funding a boost for regional airports

The Gascoyne region's airports will benefit from over $500 000 in funding as part of the Regional Airports Development Scheme (RADS) grants 2019-21 round.

Announced Thursday, 2 May, the grants will help improve infrastructure and safety at the Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Learmonth airports and the Exmouth Aerodrome.

DPC media statement: RADS grant funding a boost for 26 regional airports

Government and PCYC partner to tackle youth crime

The State Government is providing $11.3 million in funding, in the 2019-20 State Budget, to ensure the ongoing operation and sustainability of Police and Community Youth Centres (PCYC) and to expand its services across the State.

The commitment underpins Government's support for programs aimed at reducing juvenile offending and improving community safety.

As part of the commitment, the Carnarvon PCYC will undergo a major redevelopment to expand its capacity and better meet the needs of young people in that town with increased participation.

The PCYC is one of the largest multipurpose youth facilities, with a history of 78 years in WA.

In consultation with the Commissioner of Police, a new partnership agreement with the WA Police Force is being drafted where police officers will participate in youth intervention and learning and development programs.

Police officers will provide mentorship, case management and coaching to youth at risk of becoming prolific priority offenders.

DPC media statement: $11.3 million as Government and PCYC partner to tackle youth crime

Funding to reopen Gwoonwardu Mia cultural centre

The State Government's 2019-20 State Budget will deliver $2.5 million to reopen the Gwoonwardu Mia Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre in Carnarvon.

The centre opened in 2005 following a $4.7 million State Government investment, but was closed in 2015 by the Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre Board due to concerns over the management of the centre and financial issues.

The State Government has been working to reopen the centre since coming to government in 2017, culminating in the resumption of direct management of the centre and renewed engagement with the local Aboriginal community.

The State Government has allocated $2.5 million to reopen the centre, working in partnership with the Gascoyne Development Commission and the local Aboriginal community to put the centre on a pathway to sustainability.

The WA Museum has been asked to manage the reopening of the centre until such time as a new governance model is agreed to.

This commitment provides an initial three years of operating funding, and will support building assessments for any necessary repairs and cataloguing of exhibits and artefacts left in the centre.

The reopened centre will be used to drive Aboriginal business development and tourism opportunities in the Gascoyne, and to celebrate the region's Aboriginal heritage.

DPC media statement: Funding to reopen Gwoonwardu Mia cultural centre

One Mile Jetty centre opened in Carnarvon

Visitors to Carnarvon can now explore the fascinating history of the iconic One Mile Jetty at the Carnarvon Heritage Precinct's One Mile Jetty Interpretive Centre.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan officially opened the centre today, alongside project partners and members of the community.

Constructed from 1897, the One Mile Jetty has been integral to the cultural identity of Carnarvon and played a significant role in the economic development of the Gascoyne region.

The centre focuses on its history and houses many priceless museum artefacts and photographs of Carnarvon from the beginning of the 20th century.

The centre also features exhibitions of the battle between the HMAS Sydney II and the HSK Kormoran in 1941, including a display of one of the Kormoran's lifeboats, along with stories about local industries, floods and cyclones and Carnarvon's brief whaling history in the 1950s.

The project was made possible through a $2.78 million State Government investment, including $360,000 for the final exhibition space fit-out.

Funding for the project, totalling $3.94 million, was also provided by the Shire of Carnarvon, Lotterywest and Commonwealth Government.

DPC media statement: One Mile Jetty centre opened in Carnarvon