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OPINION: Minister heaps praise on Bruce Manning as he prepares to step away from GSDC after 23 years

Regional Development Minister Don PunchAlbany Advertiser
Bruce Manning is stepping down as chair of the Great Southern Development Commission, ending his 23 year association with the GSDC.
Camera IconBruce Manning is stepping down as chair of the Great Southern Development Commission, ending his 23 year association with the GSDC. Credit: Nic Duncan

There are few who have contributed more to the economic development of the Great Southern than local legend Bruce Manning.

He has been a passionate advocate for the region during his 23 years leading the Great Southern Development Commission and his unwavering dedication and exceptional service have made a lasting impact on the region.

Most notably, he has been responsible for the delivery of the $130 million Albany Waterfront Development Albany Entertainment Centre, the creation of the Munda Biddi Trail and the Bibbulmun hiking track.

Bruce has also been instrumental in the attraction and the expansion of tertiary education presence within the region, with the delivery of the University of Western Australia science building.

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There are many significant projects which have benefited from his exclusive knowledge, strategic vision, and strong networks — all qualities which have been instrumental in driving development initiatives that have positively transformed the Great Southern region.

His unwavering support for local businesses, agricultural advancements, tourism, and infrastructure projects has played a pivotal role in enhancing the region’s economic potential and quality of life for its residents.

Simply put, Bruce has become somewhat of a local legend and I have no doubt he will continue to shape the future of the region for many years to come.

On behalf of the West Australian Government and the people of the Great Southern, I extend my deepest gratitude for his outstanding service to the region.

Bruce’s tenure as both chief executive and chair of the Great Southern Development Commission has spanned more than two decades — a remarkable achievement.

Bruce’s departure from the commission will undoubtedly be felt deeply.

However, I am feeling positive about the future.

I am excited to announce the appointment of Ricky Burges as our new GSDC chair, effective on September 1.

Ricky has served as the chief executive of Albany Community Care since 2019, leading a team delivering critical services for the region.

She brings with her senior leadership experience across the public sector in WA, previously working as the CEO of the Western Australian Local Government Association, the Perth Zoo and director-general of the former Department of Culture and Arts.

Our regional development commissions play such a crucial role in connecting business with government, and I have no doubt the GSDC will continue to make those valuable connections under the leadership of Ricky Burges.

Don Punch is Minister for Regional Development.

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