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SEGRA Foundation

City of Busselton – Mayor’s Welcome

Mayor Phill Cronin

On behalf of my Council colleagues, I am delighted to welcome delegates to the City of Busselton for the 2024 Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) conference.

The City of Busselton is a vibrant regional city by the sea, where environment, lifestyle and opportunity meet. Recently awarded as Western Australia’s Top Tourism Town for 2024, the city is nestled on the picturesque Geographe Bay, just 230kms south of the State capital of Perth, and is the premier locale and central heart of the South West region of Western Australia.

We sit on Wadandi Boodja, part of Nyungar country. Covering a total area of 1,455km2, we feature five modern townships – Busselton, Vasse, Dunsborough, Yallingup and Eagle Bay – along with a range of retail, commercial and industrial precincts. Set in a coastal and rural environment of pristine natural beauty and enjoying a warm Mediterranean climate, we are a relaxed, safe, and friendly community, with services and facilities supporting healthy and connected lifestyles. Outdoor activities abound at our national and marine parks and wetlands, and we boast award-winning public parks, open spaces and white sandy beaches, along with the heritage-listed Busselton Jetty and its underwater observatory.

The city is well connected by major transport networks, including the South West’s principal airport, the Busselton Margaret River Airport, which now boasts direct flight services to Sydney and Melbourne. We are situated close to the Port of Bunbury, one of Australia’s largest regional ports, and its associated road and rail links.

Our thriving community is home to almost 44,000 people and offers a much sought after lifestyle for those who have chosen to live and work here. Contemporary youth, senior and family facilities include two leisure centres, new skate parks, numerous playgrounds, walking and biking trails, and libraries. There is an extensive range of sporting clubs, dedicated youth spaces and programs that activate all segments of our connected community. A collection of private, independent and public primary and secondary schools, TAFE facilities and Edith Cowan University’s Learning Hub in the centre of Busselton all support lifelong learning opportunities, a skilled workforce and a culture of innovation. Modern public and private hospitals, as well as allied health, paediatric, and aged care services provide excellent support for our community’s physical and mental wellbeing.

The city is also enjoys a vibrant arts and creative industries scene, with an abundance of museums and galleries. Our much anticipated, state of the art “Saltwater” Performing Arts & Convention Centre is currently under construction and will provide multiple arts, entertainment and convention opportunities from 2025 onwards.

With an extensive food, wine and a craft beer scene and a jam-packed calendar of festivals, concerts, shows and events, many featuring a stellar line-up of stars, celebrities, artists, sportspeople and creatives, the city is well known as the Events Capital of Western Australia, a title we have been proud to own for many years.

As a premier leisure tourism destination, we welcome 895,000 visitors per annum, with those visitors staying 3.44 million nights in our local government area and spending $838m each year. With its outstanding natural beauty and high density of high-quality accommodation, wineries, breweries and tourism experiences, the City of Busselton holds many attributes that have helped to establish the region’s global reputation as a world-class tourism destination over recent decades.

The city is home to a growing hub of high-value technology-based and creative industries, and the past decade has seen significant public and private investment in developing innovative community and economic infrastructure. We have focused on revitalising our town centres and foreshore areas, creating new hospitality and retail centres, additional aged and health care facilities and significant upgrades to the regional airport to meet international standards in anticipation of future growth opportunities.

With a current GRP of $3.361 billion (17.7% of the entire South West economy), the city and our community are now poised to capitalise on this transformative work. There are currently 16762 jobs in Busselton, which accounts for 20.8% of jobs in the South West Region, with key industries including health care, accommodation and food services, retail trade, construction, education and training and manufacturing.

Our next chapter will focus on continuing to deliver a high-quality urban realm, attractive public spaces and excellent community amenities whilst expanding economic opportunities to accelerate the tourism and events sector and activate new activity in aviation, transport, renewable energy, technology, and specialist manufacturing industries.

I warmly welcome you all to our thriving city, and we look forward to sharing our story with you!

Mayor Phill Cronin

City of Busselton