City of Mandurah opinion: Aspirational ideas for our future

All about the water: Mandurah's extensive waterways will be the centrepiece of a suite of new projects to support tourism and growth in the region. Photo: Supplied.
All about the water: Mandurah's extensive waterways will be the centrepiece of a suite of new projects to support tourism and growth in the region. Photo: Supplied.

If we are to thrive as a 21st century city we need to be aspirational. We have to not only deliver on the needs of today, but also on the things that will ensure Mandurah is buffered from future economic downturns and emerges stronger than ever.

Our defining feature, or more crudely our competitive advantage, is our waterways. We are blessed with magnificent waterways woven throughout this place. And last year, during our largest ever community consultation, you told us that our waterways is what matters to Mandurah.

You want us to not only protect them, but also ensure they are at the heart of what we do and who we are. We listened.

On Friday, we shared our vision for Mandurah and its waterways with Premier Mark McGowan. We spoke of the $22m waterfront redevelopments, incorporating our city centre and our eastern and western foreshores. We also told him about our strategic alliance with the Shire of Murray that aims to develop innovative and diverse industries, attract investment, create education pathways and realise 24,700 jobs by 2050.

We shared with him our aspiration for Mandurah as the Australian waterways centre of excellence. This includes developing a proprietary suite of world-class waterways data, which will attract science-based activities, agribusiness and tech companies to Mandurah.

Further, we will create an iconic waterways centre of excellence in Mandurah's city centre, which will be a centralised hub for collaborative research, business activities and eco-tourism.

Finally, we shared our plans for eco-tourism. Our Peel-Yalgorup National Park is of international importance, covering 26,530ha and supports over 20,000 waterbirds annually. Leveraging our reputation as WA's number one day-trip destination, we aim to activate environmentally sustainable tourism through products, including trails and Aboriginal tourism experiences.

Our aspirations for Mandurah are real, and now these and other projects are taking form, we will be getting out into the community and sharing details as they evolve. We'd love to hear your thoughts. The Premier left us with a clear appreciation for Mandurah and its role as a key driver in WA's future economy.

Rhys Williams is the City of Mandurah mayor.