Hendy Cowan

Hendy Cowan


Paul Omodei

Paul Omodei


    Public role in new plan for Warren-Blackwood's future

    16/06/2000 12:36 PM

    The State Government has set up a strategic planning group to draft a long-term development plan for the Warren-Blackwood area.

    Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan and Forest Products Minister Paul Omodei announced today that they would co-chair a steering committee overseeing development of the plan.

    The steering committee also includes representatives from the four local governments in the Warren-Blackwood area, the South West Development Commission and several Government agencies.

    Mr Cowan said local communities would also be given the opportunity to play a major role in planning the area’s future development.

    He said far-reaching changes were impacting on Warren-Blackwood’s traditional industry and economic base. These included restructuring of the timber industry, dairy deregulation and pressure on horticultural and vegetable producers.

    “The State Government has acted promptly to alleviate some of the short-term problems associated with change,”
    Mr Cowan said.

    “For instance, we have provided assistance to reopen the Greenbushes mill; supported the expansion of Manjimup Coolstores; provided an interest-free loan to new operators at the former Bunnings engineering works in Manjimup and put in place an assistance package for dairy farmers.

    “However, the time has come to focus more sharply on the area’s long-term development options.

    “A strategic plan will address industry and economic development, community development and natural resource management.

    “The steering committee will report to Cabinet and it is anticipated a draft strategy will be ready for consideration by the committee in October.”

    Mr Omodei, the MLA for Warren-Blackwood, said the local community would be given every opportunity to contribute to the process.

    “There will be a series of public workshops, the outcomes of which will be an important element in formulating the plan,”
    he explained.

    “Then, once the draft plan has been released, there will be a period for public feedback prior to its finalisation.

    “The success of the plan will depend on the degree to which the public becomes involved and the input received from the many community committees which have been working on response plans to the forest industry restructuring.

    “Early in the process, those conducting the initial study will be expected to meet representative industry and community bodies. Public information strategies, including a shopfront facility in Manjimup, will also be established.

    “Warren-Blackwood is a unique and rich area which has an exciting future.

    “The State Government wants to ensure that the area’s potential is realised and, importantly, that the communities themselves have ownership of the development strategy.”

    Media contact: Peter Jackson (Mr Cowan’s office) 9222-8788
    Hugh Ryan (Mr Omodei’s office) 9213-6700