Home' Forge : Vol 1 No 3 Contents 126
A leading Western Australian council focuses on its area's strengths to boost the economy and create jobs.
An innovative investment approach
is helping the City of Rockingham
realise its potential to become one of
Australia's great seaside suburbs, and
deliver thousands of new jobs for its fast-
The Western Australian municipality,
a 40-minute drive south of Perth, has
big plans to redevelop the Rockingham
foreshore area. It wants to attract a
major hotel, encourage construction of
large mixed-use buildings, and build a
much higher profle for the area.
The City of Rockingham believes that
the foreshore can become a world-class
tourist destination, similar in look to
Sydney's famed Manly Beach, and a
leading example of how councils can
innovate urban coastal strips while
retaining their unique character.
growth,' says City of Rockingham CEO
Andrew Hammond. 'Rockingham
understands the importance of attracting
investment, and is making things happen
in a competitive market. If you get the
investment, the jobs follow.'
Hammond adds, 'Our unique beaches
have great investment appeal, and there
is an outstanding opportunity to build
more industry and jobs around the
HMAS Stirling naval base on Garden
Island'. The Royal Australian Navy base
is home to the country's largest naval
and submarine feet.
Rockingham is building a strong
investment case on its industry
strengths and its tourism potential.
Unlike many councils that focus frst on
jobs growth, Rockingham's approach
is to attract investment around its
sustainable competitive advantages.
This ensures that investment is better
targeted, and creates a stronger point of
difference for Rockingham.
The strategy is working. In 2014--2015,
the value of building approvals was
$589 million; nearly 25 per cent of
this amount is non-residential. Local
industry is investing heavily in the
area to capitalise on its position in the
Western Trade Coast industrial area.
Eight major developments, worth
$292.2 million, were approved between
2012 and 2014. These included short-
stay apartment complexes, multi-use
apartments, and expansions of the
Baldivis and Warnbro activity centres,
across shopping complexes, schools and
freeway service centres.
Baldivis is now one of Western
Australia's fastest-growing areas.
It has attracted thousands of new
residents, and construction of a new
shopping centre, hardware complex and
medical centre. The Western Australian
Government is examining options for
further urban growth in Rockingham,
primarily in the Baldivis area.
Population growth is a key opportunity
and challenge. Rockingham is expected
to grow from an estimated 120,859
residents in June 2013 to 171,300 by
2026, according to Western Australian
Planning Commission projections.
Western Australia's strong growth, and
Rockingham's growing reputation as a
dynamic city with an easy commute to
Perth, are behind the population gains.
'The City's overarching goal is to
encourage the creation of more jobs
in Rockingham for our residents,'
Hammond says. 'We want more
people to live and work in the area, not
commute elsewhere to the job. For that
to happen, Rockingham needs to attract
a signifcant amount of new investment,
and build on strong gains achieved in
the past fve years.’
Strong foundations for growth
Rockingham has several core strengths.
The frst is a fast-growing, young and
multicultural population that provides
a skilled workforce for industry.
Relatively high housing affordability
and Rockingham's seaside lifestyle
are attracting more families and
frst-home buyers. A relatively static
unemployment rate over the past fve
years is another feature.
Transport infrastructure is also a
strength. The 4.5-kilometre Gateway
to Rockingham project, which was
completed last year, provides a direct
route into Rockingham from the Kwinana
Freeway via Kulija Road, making the
Garden Island naval base and Kwinana
industrial estate more accessible.
The $17.8 million project provides a non-
stop route directly into Rockingham,
slashing travel times for more than 4000
cars a day and reducing commute times
to Perth. It makes Rockingham a more
attractive residential option for people
who work elsewhere.
Investment attraction at the heart of
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