The state government has revealed the first nine regional towns to benefit from $85 million in upgrades under Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls' "SuperTowns" initiative.
Mr Grylls announced this morning that Katanning, Collie, Esperance, Northam, Jurien Bay, Morawa, Boddington, Manjimup and Margaret River had been selected in the first round of the initiative aimed to enhance infrastructure and amenity in the regions.
The Minister said $5.5 million was available for strategic planning over financial year 2011-12, with a further $80 million allocated to commence projects.
""The nine towns selected in the first round of SuperTowns now have the opportunity to build on their own unique identity and vision," Mr Grylls said.
"With population growth set to double in Western Australia over the next 30 to 40 years, SuperTowns will offer more opportunities and amenities for people who choose to live in the State's regional areas and provide an attractive alternative to living in Perth.
"Some regional centres in the southern half of WA will play a critical role in absorbing some of the predicted population growth and the SuperTowns program is designed to help strategically-placed country towns to effectively prepare for this event.
"Failure to prepare for rapid population growth would be a mistake, as it was in the Pilbara where lack of strategic planning has been disastrous."
Mr Grylls said regional centres not nominated for funding under the first round of the initiative would have the opportunity to participate at a later date.
"The selection process for the initial Super Towns program was based on local and regional economic drivers, as well as each community's readiness to attract and sustain growth," he said.