2016 in Review: March

South Western Times

Continuing our review of 2016, we take a look at March.

Frustrated Yarloop residents criticised a lack of response and leadership from Harvey Shire Council in the eight weeks since the bushfire destroyed their town and demanded a plan for them to return to their homes.

Domestic violence figures continued to soar in the South West.

Police statistics showed domestic assault reports had more than doubled in the past six years.

The Australian Workers’ Union feared more South West jobs could be lost because of historically low alumina prices. The union’s WA branch assistant secretary Mike Zoetbrood said he was worried the announcement of 390 job cuts at the Worsley refinery might not be the last time the company looked at reducing its workforce.

Crime rates in the South West continued to rise, prompting a call for the promise of extra police in the region to be delivered.

Bunbury Primary School student Seb Hiscox, 10, shaved his head to raise money for the 2016 World’s Greatest Shave.
Camera IconBunbury Primary School student Seb Hiscox, 10, shaved his head to raise money for the 2016 World’s Greatest Shave. Credit: Bunbury Primary School student Seb Hiscox, 10, shaved his head to raise money for the 2016 World’s Greatest Shave. Picture: Jon, Jon Gellweiler
Bunbury entrepreneur Jordan Gianfrancesco made a bold attempt to promote Bunbury by erecting signs encouraging people not to bypass the city. Despite the signs being removed, he hoped it would prove a catalyst for further action.
Camera IconBunbury entrepreneur Jordan Gianfrancesco made a bold attempt to promote Bunbury by erecting signs encouraging people not to bypass the city. Despite the signs being removed, he hoped it would prove a catalyst for further action. Credit: Bunbury entrepreneur Jordan Gianfrancesco made a bold attempt to promote Bunbury by erecting signs encouraging people not to by, Jon Gellweiler
Connor Barrett’s mother Taryn started the South West chapter of Conquer Cystic Fibrosis after her son developed the disease.
Camera IconConnor Barrett’s mother Taryn started the South West chapter of Conquer Cystic Fibrosis after her son developed the disease. Credit: Connor Barrett’s mother Taryn started the South West chapter of Conquer Cystic Fibrosis after her son developed the disease. Pi, Jon Gellweiler

Bunbury City Council chief executive officer Andrew Brien was offered a new three-year contract. Tuesday night’s council meeting unanimously approved the three year contract extension from next March – with an optional year on top – keeping Mr Brien in the job until 2021.

Connor Barrett’s mother Taryn started the South West chapter of Conquer Cystic Fibrosis after her son developed the disease.
Camera IconConnor Barrett’s mother Taryn started the South West chapter of Conquer Cystic Fibrosis after her son developed the disease. Credit: Connor Barrett’s mother Taryn started the South West chapter of Conquer Cystic Fibrosis after her son developed the disease. Pi, Jon Gellweiler

The controversial anti-Islam political party Australian Liberty Alliance would hold its first meeting in Bunbury at a secret location. The meeting was part of a tour of regional WA, during which members were spreading messages about the group’s policies to end the “Islamisation of Australia”.

As Bunbury divers John Robins and Mick Quadrio were treading water in rising seas for more than five hours waiting for rescue crews to find them, they took comfort in each other’s words. “We looked after each other,” Mr Robins told South Western Times.

Bunbury City Council’s budget would be better off to the tune of $10 million after a review into this year’s finances.

The latest report into the council’s financials, set to be adopted at the next week’s meeting, showed a revised surplus of more than $140,000 above previous estimates.

Following a horrific Labour Day long weekend on WA roads, South West police and the Bunbury RoadWise Committee joined forces in a bid to stop the carnage on the region’s roads.

Dardanup farmer Phil Depiazzi begins sowing oats ahead of schedule thanks to early rainfall over the Easter long weekend.
Camera IconDardanup farmer Phil Depiazzi begins sowing oats ahead of schedule thanks to early rainfall over the Easter long weekend. Credit: Dardanup farmer Phil Depiazzi begins sowing oats ahead of schedule thanks to early rainfall over the Easter long weekend. Pictu, Jon Gellweiler

Mayor Gary Brennan ruled out contesting the seat of Bunbury in the 2017 State election, but recommended fellow councillor Monique Warnock as a suitable candidate.

Dardanup farmer Phil Depiazzi begins sowing oats ahead of schedule thanks to early rainfall over the Easter long weekend.
Camera IconDardanup farmer Phil Depiazzi begins sowing oats ahead of schedule thanks to early rainfall over the Easter long weekend. Credit: Dardanup farmer Phil Depiazzi begins sowing oats ahead of schedule thanks to early rainfall over the Easter long weekend. Pictu, Jon Gellweiler
Dardanup farmer Phil Depiazzi begins sowing oats ahead of schedule thanks to early rainfall over the Easter long weekend.
Camera IconDardanup farmer Phil Depiazzi begins sowing oats ahead of schedule thanks to early rainfall over the Easter long weekend. Credit: Dardanup farmer Phil Depiazzi begins sowing oats ahead of schedule thanks to early rainfall over the Easter long weekend. Pictu, Jon Gellweiler

A Greater Bunbury futures forum, national indigenous tourism conference and the 2016 Rotary District conference had all been held at BREC in March while a Critical Horizons population conference was scheduled for the next weekend.

Hundreds of people were expected to flock to Jetty Baths in Bunbury in support of a mother whose son was close to death from addiction to the drug ice.

Instead of keeping quiet about the “nightmare” that her family had been living through, Lina Pugh used a chilling photo of her son, Taylor, on social media and started a community group ‘Ice in Bunbury: A Mother’s Nightmare’.

Woolworths opening its doors at Eaton Fair on Good Friday was a sign of changing times, according to one of Bunbury’s biggest commercial developers. The supermarket was able to open because of an exemption after 24-hour trading was introduced to the Dardanup shire in 1994.

The average pay of South West workers almost doubled in the decade to 2014, according to new Australian Taxation Office figures.

The spike in taxable income for many towns in Greater Bunbury occurred between 2003-04 and 2013- 14, with Bunbury workers’ incomes surging from $33,531 to $62,149.

The average increased from $33,180 to $61,092 for Eaton residents and from $34,452 to $65,013 for workers living in Australind.

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