Eight projects that aim to drive economic growth and create jobs in Collie have received funding under the first round of the state government’s Collie Futures Small Grants program.
The state government has allocated $678,000 of the $2 million available under the program over the next four years to projects with the potential to help diversify the local economy.
Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan visited Collie last week to announce the funding and said it was ‘pleasing’ to see the range of business ideas put forward.
“We know that Collie is going through a very significant transition,” she said.
“We believe that there is a great future for Collie but to make this a just transition we have to be out there on the front foot working with the community to develop a whole array of projects.”
Ms MacTiernan said it was important to diversify the town’s economy to provide ‘hope and confidence that there will be a good future’ for the people of Collie.
Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said creating jobs for locals in Collie was a ‘priority’.
“Behind the scenes we are working extremely hard on our transition into the future,” he said.
“The coal industry and the power generation industry will be here for quite a while as our base industry, but while [other industries] build around it we can only get better and create those jobs we need.”
Ms MacTiernan said the projects, which were evaluated by the Collie Futures Economic Advisory Committee and the South West Development Commission, were chosen based on their ‘real chance of success’.
She said they had selected a mix of projects that would provide immediate tangible benefit and some that would take time to be fully realised.
The Mellegers Family Trust received $100,000 to build a trails centre, with a cafe and bike hire facilities, to capitalise on the recent push towards trails tourism, while the Collie Cycle Club received $8000 to continue the Collie to Donnybrook Cycle Race.
DC Two received $200,000 towards its solar-powered data centre in Collie, Planwest WA received $90,000 towards creating a distillery in town and Keip Filtration received $100,000 for a hydration hub.
Funding was also given out for feasibility studies, with Global Marketing Technologies receiving $80,000 to investigate the possibility of a hay pressing plant in Collie.
Collie Synfuels also received two grants of $50,000 to investigate the potential of using coal to create liquid hydrogen, which could then be exported to Asia.
Ms MacTiernan said the state government was also looking for larger-scale projects in Collie to fund.