Mandurah has grown and changed dramatically over the years and is now one of Australia’s fastest-growing cities which is home to close to 76,000 people.
Mandurah has very important cultural and historical links with the Aboriginal people, as the first Aboriginal people to inhabit the area would come from all across the region to fish and live off the land. They called it Mandjoogoordap, which translates to “meeting place of the heart”.
Growing from a seaside holiday village with 2000 residents in the early 60s, Mandurah has become Western Australia’s largest regional cities.
Mandurah was elevated to city status in 1990, and it is now the 10th largest local government area (LGA) in the state, with a current five-year average annual growth of 4.4 percent far exceeding the state average of 2.8 percent.
Over the past 50 years, Mandurah has experienced phenomenal long-term growth, and the population is forecast to continue growing strongly over the next two decades to reach more than 122,000 by 2036.
As one of Australia’s fastest growing outer suburban municipalities, the City of Mandurah is a member of the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA), which lobbies for greater government support of fast-growing outer metropolitan and inner regional councils.
The Alliance represents around 3.6 million people, or 25 percent of Australia’s metropolitan population.
One of Mandurah’s biggest challenges is how to retain young people in the city and thus creating a broader spectrum of the demographic.
Mandurah was traditionally known as a retirement or ‘sea change’ destination and as a result, has an above-average level of older residents. Conversely, while there has been a big rise in the 0-9 age group within the city, Mandurah has relatively low numbers of young adults. This is thought to be the result of a combination of a lack of education, employment and entertainment opportunities.
Therefore, the City is working hard to improve its education offerings, its employment outlook and its recreation, entertainment and leisure options. The City is working on the creation of a dedicated Youth Development Strategy, targeted at the 13-25 age group, and is also embarking on a number of other strategies designed to enhance Mandurah’s recreation, entertainment and leisure offerings.
Mandurah’s key challenges in the future include maintaining and growing identity as Western Australia’s largest regional city, protecting the beautiful waterways for future generations, changing the shape of the Mandurah economy, and growing the City while at the same time keeping the small town feel – something which is very important to community, and ensuring the infrastructure is in place for a population that will exceed 100,000 people in the very near future.
Other community development plans and projects include the Social Infrastructure Plan which involves planning for the future of community infrastructure with a rapidly-growing population. The City’s annual events calendar adds to the city’s vibrancy across a range of demographics, and the aim is to be accessible and inclusive for all. The challenge here is around the resources to keep the events and festivals moving forward. The City also has a dedicated team involved in initiatives and projects which aim to make Mandurah a safe city, both in the perception of crime and the reality of it. The City works very closely with local police to address community safety and security issues, and also has a role to play in reducing and reporting graffiti and reducing alcohol – fuelled antisocial behaviour in Mandurah through our involvement with the Mandurah Liquor Accord. The Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2011-15 aims to create a city which is inclusive and accessible to all abilities in a wide range of areas including infrastructure upgrades, opportunities and events.
The City’s Reconciliation Action Plan works with all groups in the community to develop relationships and also tangible returns including businesses and jobs for local Aboriginals. The Plan is based on the three main outcomes of respect, relationships and opportunities, and looks at how we can improve in these areas.
With its sporting club development program, the City assists local sporting clubs to develop and grow in a sustainable and well-managed way.
The City is also working to understand the impact Fly-in, Fly-out work has on the community and what the city’s response could be.
In 2012, the City of Mandurah took the lead in forming a fully operational, independent tourism organisation, the Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO).
The formation of MAPTO was just one of the key strategies the City implemented to revitalise the economy as part of the City’s broader Tourism Strategy 2011-2016, which aims to provide a coordinated, regional approach to tourism efforts in Mandurah and the Peel Region.
The creation of MAPTO was the result of earlier research into best-practice tourism organisations across Australia, and was implemented in an endeavour to increase visitor yield within the Peel Region, as well as the ability of local tourism operators to both enhance and market their products and services.
MAPTO’s role is to lead, facilitate and advocate the delivery of key elements of the Tourism Strategy. The City contributed $885,000 to establish the organisation and it’s expected the organisation will become sustainable and self-funded over time.
MAPTO’s board and executive teams are led by Mr Clive Nelthorpe (chairman) and Mr Steven Holle (chief executive officer).
Due to its relentless rapid population growth, the City is constantly striving to ensure that infrastructure provision keeps pace with population increases. This in turn leads to enormous infrastructure demands – and therefore costs – on the City to provide.
As a result, the City continues to seeking funding partnerships with other levels of government.
Two of the City’s major upgrade projects in the coming years are the redevelopment of the Old Mandurah Bridge and the ageing Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre (MARC).
The City has recently conducted an extensive community engagement process to determine what the community wants in terms of a new or redeveloped bridge across the Peel-Harvey Estuary. Earlier this year, the State Government pledged $40million to the Old Mandurah Bridge redevelopment project.
The City has also recently secured a $2million grant from the Australian Government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program to install geothermal heating at the MARC. Geothermal heating has been identified as the most cost effective and long-term sustainable heating method, and will result in significant energy and power savings at the Centre.
The City has also engaged in extensive community consultation for the pending Eastern Foreshore redevelopment. This project aims to revitalise the foreshore precinct and create more space for our community and visitors to recreate.
The City is also involved in building a pedestrian bridge over Mandurah Road and the railway line, which will ultimately connect two future developments; Central Park on the eastern side and Landcorp’s Mandurah Junction on the western side.
The City has been allocated $5.4million in Building Better Regional Cities funding to help with the project, and the bridge will help to kick start a major Transit Oriented Development (TOD) either side of the Mandurah train station, which will include 50 affordable housing units.
Other examples of recent, current and future major infrastructure projects include the Port Bouvard Surf Lifesaving Club – $3m (2010), the Bortolo Pavilion Extension – $1.1m (2011), the Mandurah Bowling and Recreation Club – $8.2m (2011), the Rushton Park Redevelopment – $9.4m (2011), the Mandurah City Centre Revitalisation – $5.5m (2011), the Meadow Springs Regional Open Space – $6.2m (2012), the Mandurah Surf Lifesaving Club – $3.5m (2013), the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre Redevelopment – $36m (2015), the Mandurah Traffic Bridge Redevelopment – approx. $40m (2016), the Eastern Foreshore Redevelopment – approx. $10m (2018), the Mandurah North District Community Centre – approx. $12m (2018), and the Dawesville Community Centre – approx. $7m (2018).
The City of Mandurah supports and hosts a varied range of community festivals and events throughout the year, most of which attract a huge amount of visitors locally, nationally and internationally.
The City’s events also aim to be all inclusive and accessible for all abilities.
Mandurah’s signature annual event, the Channel Seven Mandurah Crab Fest, celebrated its 15th year this year, attracting a record 140,000 local, national and international visitors to the city during the two-day event. This annual event injects more than $5million into the local economy, and has become one of the biggest community events in the state.
For the past two years, the Crab Fest has been held in conjunction with the Action Sports Games and the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation World Cup. The addition of the Action Sport Games is a huge highlight and drawcard for the Crab Fest event, and this partnership will continue for the next two years.
The Games bring the world’s best competitors in waterskiing, wakeboarding, skateboarding, freestyle motocross and BMX to Mandurah, which in turn draws big visitor numbers both nationally and internationally.
Images and news articles from the Action Sports Games and the Crab Fest are widely broadcast in a number of different countries, showcasing Mandurah’s stunning assets not only to Australia but the rest of the world.
The City of Mandurah is also host to a number of triathlon events throughout the year including the SunSmart Ironman 70.3 Mandurah, which is held in October. Thousands of local, national and international visitors descended on Mandurah’s foreshores and city centre to witness close to 1400 athletes battle it out for one of 40 spots in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
Other annual community events in the City include the Stretch Arts Festival, which this year attracted more than 10,000 visitors, the Mandurah Children’s Festival, the Club Marine Mandurah Boat Show, Community Christmas Pageant and Celebrations, New Year’s Eve celebrations, Australia Day festivities, the Seniors Expo and Fun on the Foreshore, which is held as part of Disability Awareness Week and promotes the inclusion of people with disability into all aspects of Mandurah’s community life.
It is very important that people feel connected to their community and that they feel they can be involved and add value to a cohesive community. People need to feel like they belong to where they live and that they are part of the community. Mandurah is a changing community with a growing diversity, which is demonstrated by the amount of new Australian citizens welcomed at the monthly Citizenship Ceremonies. Mandurah’s diversity is also expanding due to a range of different visas being offered that direct people to live outside the metropolitan area, and Mandurah is often the choice as it’s a beautiful place to live.
Affordable housing is also a big issue in Mandurah, as well as other social issues, which is why it is so important for the City to be engaged in these conversations and work with groups in our community, including charities, to assist the community. The City is very supportive (including financial contributions) to a range of charities and community groups which assist people in a range of social issues.
The current major issues for the City of Mandurah and the Council include the provision of economic, community and transport infrastructure, the ability to meet community demands, community safety and security, the improvement of housing affordability, education, and employment outcomes, and the attraction and retention of young people within the community.
Mandurah is blessed with the Peel-Harvey Estuary, which features more than 130 square kilometres of idyllic inland waterways and is twice the size of Sydney Harbour. With this comes a range of issues around how the health of this vital waterway, which is abundant in marine life and natural beauty is preserved. The City of Mandurah has a very close and admirable relationship with the Peel Harvey Catchment Council, looking at ways to improve the health of the estuary for future generations. It is always at the forefront of Council discussions about how to sustain the health of the estuary, and the environmental impacts the estuary has on the wider eco-system.
Determining how the City adapts to the changing circumstances of tighter budgets at the three levels of government, including the local government, and how it continues to provide and plan for the right type of community facilities and community cohesion in that environment is a high priority. While still maintaining a growth rate of more the four percent. Mandurah is an example of a patchwork economy. It has an incredibly long demographic continuum, with 30 percent under 25 years of age, and very high numbers over 65 years. This creates many difficulties, especially when coupled with socioeconomic challenges. Other objectives for the future include the creation of a greater mix of housing, allowing residents to afford to live in different styles of accommodation, the generation of community cohesion despite the economic downturn, and expected rise in state government charges for the upcoming budget, and ensuring continued access to education and employment, as well as the ongoing protection of essential waterways.
Despite the recent decrease in Mandurah’s housing prices, all of the factors within the city remain positive. Just on the edge of the metropolitan area, Mandurah boasts a wonderful train and road link to the city, while enjoying the many benefits of being a region. With a terrific performing arts centre and beautiful waterways, residents can enjoy the benefits of a regional lifestyle, as well as those of the metropolitan area.