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Dowerin sets standard in community effort (visual)
29/08/2000 12:00 AM
The Dowerin GWN Field Days are an excellent example of what can be achieved when a rural community backs itself, Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan said today.
"This event is totally community-owned and everyone involved should take great pride in its success," said Mr Cowan, who opened the three-day event.
The Minister said the Field Days, arguably now Australia’s biggest, had grown over the past 36 years from a small number of farmers and their families gathering at the town oval to examine a few tractors and implements.
“Today, it showcases the latest technology in agricultural plant and machinery to innovative products and services,” he said.
“The Field Days have also gained valuable international recognition both for the Wheatbelt community and the State’s diverse agriculture-based industries.
“In fact, the increasing number of international visitors and trade delegations has led to the organisers establishing an international visitors’ lounge to cater for their needs.
“The event plays an important role in the farm sector’s continual search for more cost-effective means of production and for new opportunities and products.
“It is a demonstration of what can be achieved when a community gets behind an idea, commits itself to the ensuing project and gets other stakeholders fully involved.
"It is the communities of Dowerin and surrounding towns that volunteer their time to ensure that these field days are a success.
"There is a growing recognition among regional communities that spirit and commitment are necessary if small rural and remote communities are to remain healthy in this period of rapid change.”
Mr Cowan said the State Government understood the challenges faced by country towns and was assisting in many and varied ways.
The Government's Regional Development Policy, launched in May, was already starting to make a difference.
"The policy offers the best framework available for the future prosperity of regional Western Australians based on a partnership between communities, business, State and local governments," Mr Cowan said.
“The policy covers a wide range of strategies to support and encourage economic growth and social well-being in country areas.”
One of its major initiatives, the $10 million Regional Development Trust Fund, has already been set up.
"The Regional Development Policy provides a clear direction for government agencies to follow to improve service delivery and specifically promotes activities aimed at helping communities help themselves," Mr Cowan said.
Another Government initiative, the Regional Collocation Scheme, will increase the number and quality of services delivered to regional centres by encouraging businesses, Government agencies and community groups to share resources.
Mr Cowan said the Dowerin Community Resource Centre, which he opened earlier this month, was a classic example of how collocation of essential services could benefit rural communities.
Media contact: Peter Jackson 9222 9595
Deputy Premier Hendy Cowan opens the Dowerin GWN Field Days.
Deputy Premier Hendy Cowan (centre) at the launch of the new Steiger STX series tractor range at the Boekeman Machinery exhibit at the Dowerin GWN Field Days.