Investment on the agenda: Mandurah and Murray join forces to promote economic development in the region

Private capital search: Mayor Rhys Williams said the joint new Mandurah-Murray economic development team would attract local investment. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

Private capital search: Mayor Rhys Williams said the joint new Mandurah-Murray economic development team would attract local investment. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

Peel's booming population has prompted the City of Mandurah to appoint a specialist team, dedicated to attracting and stimulating investment.

The new economic development unit will work with the current manager of investment attraction at the Shire of Murray to encourage expenditure across Peel.

The city's mayor Rhys Williams said the joint Mandurah-Murray team would serve a variety of purposes and create many benefits for the region.

"Our new economic development priorities are focused on enabling new investment in our region, ensuring we're easy to do business with and shaping an economy that creates modern, knowledge-based jobs," he said.

"As our city has evolved and grown from a fishing village to a population centre, we have lacked a primary industry or significant economic infrastructure.

"Our city will continue to grow as WA's population grows.

"With this in mind, it is essential that we have a long term focus on using our competitive advantages to shape sustainable economic opportunities."

Our joint Mandurah-Murray economic development unit will be responsible for investment attraction across both local government areas and will include an emphasis in areas of tourism, water science industries and agri-tech.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams

The mayor ensured the team would be working to encourage private capital across a range of sectors in the Peel region.

"Our joint Mandurah-Murray economic development unit will be responsible for investment attraction across both local government areas and will include an emphasis in areas of tourism, water science industries and agri-tech," he said.

"Whilst ultimately we need to think beyond tourism if we're going to be economically competitive as a region, Mandurah has significant untapped tourism potential so there will always be a focus on attracting private tourism investment into Mandurah."

The Shire of Murray's manager of investment attraction David Arkwright has been hard at work since he was appointed to the role in January 2018.

In little over a year, Mr Arkwright has prepared and submitted various business cases to state and federal government agencies and secured more than $130 million in funding for project delivery.

Major projects have included the Transform Peel project and Peel Business Park, Western Australian Bushfire Centre of Excellence, Dwellingup Tourism and Trails development, Murray Airfield and the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation.

Shire of Murray chief executive officer Dean Unsworth said the role had been pivotal in strengthening the shire's relationships with the local business community.

"The appointment heralded a new era for the shire as we progressed efforts aimed at readying the district for significant anticipated future population growth, by positively affecting its economic viability and long-term sustainability," he said.

"The shire's economic development endeavours continue to demonstrate its commitment to becoming a vibrant secondary centre of the Peel region and district-of-choice for business investment and prosperity."

The Shire of Murray has entered into a strategic economic partnership with the City of Mandurah to bolster major project delivery and job creation across local government boundaries.

Shire of Murray chief executive officer Dean Unsworth

Mr Unsworth said, since Mr Arkwright's appointment, two significant economic strategies had been developed including working more closely with the City of Mandurah.

"The Shire of Murray has entered into a strategic economic partnership with the City of Mandurah to bolster major project delivery and job creation across local government boundaries," he said.

"Attracting investment is necessary to affect the performance of the economy in order to create jobs and establish export based industries to secure externally sourced revenue streams."

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Peel chairman John Erren said private investment was necessary to secure the Peel region's economic future.

"Governments at all levels no longer have the financial resources to fund all that is required to ensure a sustainable economic future for Mandurah and the Peel," Mr Erren said.

"Governments play an important role in funding some of these projects, particularly where there is no expectation of a short or medium term return on investment, but private investment should be the catalyst for projects with the potential for these returns.

"To develop the city and the Peel region, we must attract investors to the region."

Mr Erren added that he believed the aforementioned focus areas including agri-business, water science and tourism had "tremendous potential and future value" for the Peel region.

"There is an exciting future for Mandurah around these developing sectors," he said.

"Mandurah and the Peel region traditionally rely on an economy based on a growing population, for example retail, building and construction.

"These industries are highly exposed to factors such as levels of disposable income and interest rates.

"There needs to be more money flowing into Mandurah and the Peel region from outside the region to stimulate growth in other industry sectors."