Media releases

Beachgoers who require emergency assistance will now be able to promptly guide responding services to their specific location, following the Shire’s installation of 24 Beach Emergency Number (BEN) signs.
The code on each BEN signs is a unique location identifier that corresponds to data available on systems used by emergency services.   
Shire of Augusta Margaret Coordinator Environment Landcare Services John McKinney said 11 other local governments have so far participated in the State-supported project, that is designed to save lives by improving response times.
“In the event of an emergency, dial 000 and quote the unique code and specific location information,” he said.
“Where possible, the caller should wait at the beach access point until emergency service crews arrive.
“BEN signs can also be referred to when reporting shark sightings to Water Police on 9442 8600. 
“This will enable relevant local authorities to act quickly and implement beach closures with accurate beach location information.”
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions is also installing signs on State-managed foreshore in the Local Government Area, bringing the total number of local BEN sign installations to 48. Over 1,100 signs will be installed across the metropolitan and south west region.
More information about the BEN system is available at

Residents of the South West are being reminded that following the unseasonal heavy rainfall of the past week there will be increased mosquito activity and a greater risk of mosquito-borne disease.

Residents are urged to be alert and to take extra precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes which will be active adults in 7 to 14 days’ time.  

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River Coordinator of Environmental Health, Chris McAtee, said that while many parts of Western Australia had enjoyed below average numbers of mosquitoes this summer, higher mosquito numbers were expected to return following unseasonal rains.

“Recent substantial rainfall combined with increasing temperatures in the coming weeks are likely to favour increased breeding of mosquitoes,” Ms McAtee said. “Mosquitoes in Perth and the South West can transmit Ross River virus (RRV) and Barmah Forest virus (BFV),” she said. “Given there is no vaccine or specific cure for either disease, the best way to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito bites.”

Symptoms of RRV and BFV include painful or swollen joints, sore muscles, skin rashes, fever, fatigue and headaches. Symptoms can last for weeks or months and the only way to properly diagnose the viruses is by having a specific blood test. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit their GP. The Department of Health’s “Fight the Bite” campaign encourages individuals to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes by adopting the following simple measures:

avoid outdoor exposure particularly around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active

wear protective (long, loose-fitting, light coloured) clothing when outdoors

apply a personal repellent containing diethyl toluamide (DEET) or picaridin to exposed skin

empty or cover any standing water around the home or holiday accommodation to reduce mosquito breeding

ensure insect screens are installed and remain in good condition

use mosquito nets or mosquito-proof tents when camping or sleeping outdoors

ensure infants and children are adequately protected against mosquito bites, preferably with suitable clothing, bed nets or other forms of insect screening.

For more information on ‘Fight the Bite’ and how to prevent mosquito bites visit:


Shire of Augusta Margaret River Councillors will consider options to progress the Margaret River Main Street Redevelopment Project at the 30 January 2019 Special Meeting of Council after all tenders submitted for the works came in over budget.

Funding for the Main Street project, which aims to improve traffic flow, aid pedestrian access, address major drainage and flood management issues and generally improve the vibrancy of the town center, was awarded five years ago.

However, commencement of the project has been dependent on the completion of the Perimeter Road, which has unfortunately has been delayed. As a result, during the past five years construction costs for the Main Street project have increased beyond the amount awarded for the project. While the funding shortfall will result in a delay to the start date, Shire Project Manager Dr. Helen Whitbread said the community should remain positive about the project proceeding. “We are disappointed that we are unable to proceed at this moment  and sympathise particularly with local business owners and community members, as we know there is a strong desire to see this project through to fruition as soon as possible” she said. 

 “There are a range of options on the table as to how best to proceed, so we will need time to consider what our optimal solution is. We’ve got one shot to get this right and we need to take stock at this critical point in the project rather than try and rush it. We are going to be living with the outcome for years to come.”

To potentially address the issue, the officer’s report that is up for Council consideration recommends the following options for adoption by Council:

That the Shire rejects all tenders on the basis that none of the prices tendered came within the budgeted and currently funded amount for construction; thereby  

Allowing the CEO to enter into negotiations with the highest rated company bidding for the work, with a view to identify cost savings to meet the Shire’s financial requirements; and

Authorising the CEO to investigate additional funding options for the project, including, but not limited to, reallocation of funding from other capital budget areas listed in the Shire’s Long Term Financial Plan; as well as

For the CEO to investigate additional matching contributions to the budget shortfall from the State Government.

Dr Whitbread advised that communication was ongoing with local industry and business representatives about the project to ensure people remain informed. To that end, a Main Street Project Public Information Session will be held at the Shire Offices on Thursday February 7, between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.  

“We encourage interested members of the public to come along to receive the latest information about the project.” “We also have open lines of communications with our existing funding bodies,” she said, “and feel very fortunate for the support received from the State Government and South West Development Commission to date.”


Free computer tutoring will be available at the Shire of Augusta Margaret River Libraries throughout 2019 for people aged 50 years and older.
The one-on-one sessions are being offered as a result of a Federal Government Be Connected program grant.
Shire’s Library Technician Jodie Porter said the grant requires that all learners complete at least 30 minutes of online learning using the Be Connected self-learning portal.
A tutor will help each learner to do this, and then a one-on-one session can be scheduled which is directed by the interests of the learner.
“The one-on-one tutoring sessions are available to anybody who is over 50, and not previously registered with Be Connected,” she said
“It’s important to have some general digital literacy, but most people then have very specific areas of interest that they want to pursue.
“Some want to learn to use Facebook, while others might be solely interested in taking and sending photos using their mobile device.
“By combining the initial structured lesson with an unstructured, learner-directed session to follow, we hope to meet the varied needs of our older community, and encourage greater digital inclusion.”
Sessions are available at both the Margaret River and Augusta Libraries.
Tutors will offer assistance with PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.
Anybody who is interested in learning more is invited to contact Jodie Porter at the Margaret River Library, on 9780 5600 or

New volunteer ‘Mentors’ are being sought by the Margaret River CoderDojo club, to support ‘Ninjas’ (aged between 7 and 17 years) as they develop coding skills.

Mentors need to have a basic understanding of coding, be able to get a Working With Children check, and be available to attend club meetings from 4pm to 5.30pm on Fridays during school term at the Margaret River Library.

Shire’s Library Technician Jodie Porter said CoderDojo is part of a world-wide movement of free coding clubs that help local youth to develop digital literacy skills in an inclusive, respectful and friendly social environment.

“The Margaret River Library supports the club by providing the meeting space, computing facilities, and other technology,” she said.

“Since its launch in early 2017, the club has worked with robotics, digital art, 3D printing, and much more.

“The Ninjas sometimes work together in groups to complete projects, and at other times follow their own individual interests.”

Ms Porters said the club needs help to meet growth into the future, and to continue to provide opportunities for local youth.

“Mentors can be tertiary education students, parents, working professionals, or anyone else who has an interest in coding,” she said.

“If you feel like you have something to give please get in contact with the Library and give the club a go.

“It’s a very rewarding opportunity and also looks great on a resume.”

If you would like to volunteer to be a Mentor at the Margaret River CoderDojo please contact Jodie Porter on 9780 5600 or

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