Twenty-two minus nineteen equals four. So technically, we are now in the fourth year of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our experience in Western Australia feels more like we have been sheltering from the storm. We have been observers rather than participants. I am personally very grateful for this. This means that when the inevitable arrives, which is happening even as I write, we have effective and safe vaccines, medical knowledge, new treatments, and tried and true public health measures to blunt the full force of the storm that is COVID-19. The cost of that knowledge globally has been very high, and we should be mindful of that as we become the direct beneficiaries.
So as we start 2022, I am aware that this year in WA will be very different to the last two. My time on the commission as a board member and Chair has been totally within the COVID-19 timeline. We have, quite rightly, been preoccupied with being responsive and tactical in the face of the economic and social challenges presented by the virus. This year will also require the same vigilance. Twenty-two will also be a time for imagining what the "new normal" will look like and how we as a Commission can do our part in our region to create the enabling social-economic environment for us to not just survive but thrive.
We have changes on the board as well. Two members have departed, and three new ones have joined. The board's makeup brings new knowledge and insights from across the region. We are planning a strategic approach to harness both the wisdom of the continuing board and the fresh perspectives of our new members.
Our vision for Peel as a progressive, prosperous and dynamic region with a culture of care will be achieved by prioritising initiatives and projects within five core themes; Thriving Industry, Agriculture and Food Innovation, Tourism Excellence, Capable People, and Strong and Resilient Communities. These themes encompass Peel's unique regional development needs and challenges. The themes also inform our plans to diversify our local economy, grow our local industries, protect our natural environment, and support our local communities. These are also the things that provide certainty and direction when the full implications of conditions outside our control are unknown.
The achievements made in 2021 across industry, community and government agencies in the Peel point to the resilience we need to foster in 2022 and beyond and exemplify our local communities' strength that gives us the capacity to recover from adversity.
Creating thriving industries in the Peel means creating more employment opportunities across more diverse industries and occupations, and investing in infrastructure and supply chains that support the transport of Peel goods out of the region. Projects like the Peel Business Park, the NERA Hydrogen Cluster and Transform Mandurah are capitalising on the region's competitive advantages to create new industries and new jobs.
Through continued innovation, investment, and research, Peel's agriculture and food production sectors can deliver a more diverse set of employment opportunities across job types. The Agri-Innovation Precinct at the Peel Business Park is well into construction and attracting tenants interested in developing innovative food and agriculture technologies.
Peel's successful applicants' recent RED Grant announcement highlights the region's ability to work with government and industry to drive economic opportunity. Six regional organisations were funded to support business expansion, increased production capability, agri-food innovation and export opportunities.
Our population is growing rapidly. If our economy is to keep pace and weather upheaval along the way, we need to ensure our industries are supported and matched with opportunities to promote their growth. This is a long term vision that requires the commitment, collaboration and cooperation of all government sectors, industry and community. Facilitating and activating those partnerships and opportunities is at the heart of the Peel Development Commission's role in developing our region. This vision and the constant work toward its achievement bring direction, anticipation and confidence to our regional future and allow us to navigate the uncertain times ahead together.
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