Busselton reaches city status

I am proud to announce that my electorate of Forrest is home to Western Australia’s newest city. The future of the city of Busselton shines very brightly. When Busselton officially celebrated its milestone on 21 January this year, I was very proud to attend that proclamation. The south-west is one of Australia’s fastest-growing regions, and Busselton’s city status is indicative of this. Located 220 kilometres south of Perth, new residents are attracted to Busselton by the magnetic pull of diverse employment opportunities, a family-friendly lifestyle, and one of the best coastal settings in the nation. As a destination for any sort of change-sea change, life change-that is what Busselton is.

The city approved 522 new residential buildings in the last financial year, worth $170.7 million. A population prediction for Busselton released by the state government last month estimated that its current population of about 32,000 will swell to more than 55,000 in 15 years time. So people are going to keep coming. The city has not and will not rest on its laurels and is actively pursuing the title ‘events capital of regional Western Australia’. City leaders and the community should be commended for making the city a cultural hub of sports, music and the arts. Residents and thousands of tourists enjoyed 82 events on the calendar last year, several of which I am very proud to support, including one called Art in the Park.

Among the major events which draw thousands of participants are the WA Iron Man, which now attracts an international field, the Southbound two-day music festival, the CinefestOz film festival and the Busselton Jetty Swim around our iconic jetty. At 1,841 metres, the jetty is said to be the longest wooden structure in the Southern Hemisphere and the third-longest wooden structure in the world. The first section was opened in 1865 and it is a marvel that is still standing. It has been restored and now has an underwater observatory and an interpretive centre. It amazes me to think of what John Garret Bussel and his pioneering family would think of what their settlement has become since they opened up the Vasse region in 1832, only three years after the Swan colony was established. Bussel had seen the potential of the region, which has now come of age. Local industries now include tourism, viticulture, dairying, market gardening, manufacturing and creative industries. It also boasts a growing regional airport with the capacity for jet aircraft.

Busselton is one of the oldest settlements in my state but it is also a youthful town with an average age of only 38 years. I hope that its current and future residents build on the wonderful success of the pioneers and thousands of others who have made it the attractive, vibrant city it has now become with a great future ahead of it.