Mandurah eyes off $5 million pre-election commitment for proposed culinary hub

City of Mandurah councillors are gearing up to bid for a $5 million pre-election commitment to kick-start their proposed Culinary Science School. 

The school plan was initiated by the Peel Development Commission in August 2018 and was devised to help increase the culinary expertise of the local and state’s hospitality and food production sector.

While the federal election date is yet to be announced, the local government have already laid out their intentions to pursue funding for the project. 

The City of Mandurah has already demonstrated their belief in the project when councillors voted unanimously to invest $40,000 for the development of a business case for the proposal. 

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At a strategy committee meeting on February 19, councillors indicated their intentions to use that report to attract both state and federal government funding.

The hospitality training centre was proposed to help spur economic growth and diversification, boost the quality of the industry and ensure people stayed in the region for education.

According to the Peel Development Commission, there were only six people living in the region and undertaking training as a trainee or apprentice in 2010. 

In 2015, that total jumped to a whopping 130, which is a 153 per cent increase. Of those people, 68 per cent were trained outside of the Peel region. 

In the commission's Peel Regional Investment Blueprint 2050, the school was earmarked as a project that could help drive tourism locally. 

The report listed the project as a way to capitalise on the rising culinary tourism industry, through attracting visitors and encouraging them to extend their stay, creating world-class dining experiences and adding to the region's product diversification.

The school would focus on food science and technology, provenance protection, culinary skills through the provision of test kitchens, a production kitchen and an adjoining commercially operated restaurant. Photo: File image.

The school would focus on food science and technology, provenance protection, culinary skills through the provision of test kitchens, a production kitchen and an adjoining commercially operated restaurant. Photo: File image.

During the strategy committee meeting on February 19, the commission joined Murdoch University and Brighthouse Strategic Consulting to present a detailed overview of their undertaken feasibility study. 

It was proposed that the higher education institute would be established within Mandurah's CBD and would focus on food science and technology, provenance protection, culinary skills through the provision of test kitchens, a production kitchen and an adjoining commercially operated restaurant.

Murdoch University representatives revealed their intended course offerings, attendee attractions and interface with the Peel Business Park offerings. 

The meeting also discussed the utilisation of City of Mandurah facilities for various facets of the proposed education program, the short-to-medium term economic outcomes, the size of operation and site location. 

Following those discussions, Mandurah deputy mayor Caroline Knight moved recommendations to lobby for a $5 million federal pre-election funding commitment. 

Coastal Ward councillor Fred Riebeling seconded that motion, which was then unanimously supported by fellow elected representatives at the meeting. 

What do you think about a culinary school in Mandurah? Share your opinion with the Mandurah Mail team by sending a letter to editor.mandurahmail@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Follow Caitlyn Rintoul on Twitter via @caitlynrintoul.

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