Opinion: 'Worst in the country': Mandurah needs commitment from all levels

You will likely have seen by now the latest CommSec analysis of ABS data, which shows Mandurah's unemployment rate is the worst in the country, at a staggering 18 per cent.

This is certainly not a title we want to hold, but it is something we can change.

Obviously this figure is significantly heightened by the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19, but we also know that these challenges are not new for Mandurah.

We have always been highly susceptible to the fluctuations of the state and national economy. That is because we rely on a very narrow economy made up of retail, tourism, hospitality, and construction. If people are spending, we do well, if they aren't, Mandurah feels it intensely because there is very little other industry to keep us going.

You will also likely have heard of Council's Transform Mandurah plan so we can better weather the inevitable economic fluctuations of the future.

Its agenda includes:

  • New water science industry and education pathways, anchored by the Australian Waterways Centre of Excellence
  • Significant City Centre redevelopment, including the relocation of a government agency and creation of lively new Civic Square
  • Creation of a new tourism and cultural precinct
  • World-class eco-tourism in the Yalgorup national park.

The only way we will address Mandurah's unemployment rate is to diversify our economy, create quality jobs and deliver education pathways for our kids. This requires significant commitment from all levels of government so that we can lay the foundations for attracting private investment.

We have the plan. Our next step is to attract government support to make it happen. With an election looming, we'll be taking every opportunity to seek their support.

  • Rhys Williams is the mayor of the City of Mandurah.