Western Australia's growing network of local enterprise centres helped create more than 600 new businesses and 1,000 new jobs during the first nine months of this year.
Deputy Premier Ian Taylor said in reality the figures were beginning to have a significant impact on the economies of many of the State's country centres.
"The enterprise centre scheme is not only proving highly efficient as a job-creating program, but it is now doing much to help local communities diversify their business base and most importantly retain their populations," Mr Taylor said today.
He said the partnership the State Government had established with local councils and local business organisations to run the centres was working well and in the next few weeks another enterprise centre - at Mandurah - would be added to the existing network of 22.
"There are now 48 local government authorities and over 20 business organisations providing direct support to the network, while more than 200 individuals - mostly professional business people - are providing their time free of charge to see that the scheme works," he said.
Mr Taylor said in the next few weeks the State Government would be investing a further $780,000 in the program as part of its ongoing financial commitment.
"In the coming months we are hoping to give even more assistance to the program by helping to promote the wide variety of products and services now being sold as a result of enterprise centre involvement," he said.
"The diversity of these products and services demonstrates just how much creative talent we have in our country centres and I want to see more done to bring that diversity to the attention of a wide audience - and more consumers."
Mr Taylor said the local enterprise centre network had in mind the establishment close to Perth of a permanent 'shop front' for rural products.
"There are many new and established regional enterprises which may benefit from having their products given this extra promotion," he said.