Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2021-31

20200916 Northern Grampians Shire Council - Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2021-31 Our Economy and People Front Page

Council is undertaking a long-term planning project to ensure council's economic development activities improve the economic viability and sustainability of the municipality. 

Specifically, the Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2021-31 will guide council's actions to improve economic viability and sustainability and achieve the intended outcomes of economic development services and activities.

Business and Community Questionnaire and Interviews

Data analysis provides some information to help steer the project. If you would like to know what we have learned thus far, you can review the summary paper:

Our Economy and People: What We've Learned So Far(PDF, 24MB)

Local insight is essential to provide more information, and collecting information from our businesses and communities will help fill gaps in our knowledge, like:

  • What does our community want the future economy to be like? (vision)
  • What attracts and keeps business in Northern Grampians? (competitive advantages) 
  • What attracts and keeps new residents? (opportunities)
  • What holds our businesses back from growing? (barriers and issues)
  • What opportunities are there to generate more wealth from the things we grow and produce? (value-added)

From the engagement program, a detailed report of the community responses has been developed, which we invite you to review.

What We Heard - Engagement Report(PDF, 1MB)

Project Background

As a consequence of COVID-19, new challenges are affecting all of our business sectors and communities. At the same time, opportunities to work differently have arisen. Council recognises that Northern Grampians Shire faces the risk of missing opportunities and losing business and people to other regions and cities. It is critical that while we continue to respond to immediate needs, we orientate ourselves towards our future. Our rural region has so much to offer, and we have to make the most of our assets and competitive advantages.


Project Timeline

Step 1.Step 1 - Investigation and analysis August 2020

- Report on "What we know now" based on data and desktop search

Step 2 - Draft the Strategy September-January 2020/21

- Local industry sector research

- Prepare a draft strategy

- Key stakeholders review of draft

Step 2.Step 3 - Finalise the Strategy and Action Plan February-March 2021

- Draft released

- Community feedback

- Finalise the Strategy and Action Plan

Step 3.Take action

Project Engagement

Step 1.Round 1 Engagement

July 2020

Initial engagement and communication

Steering committee appointed

Step 2.Round 2 Engagement 

September 2020

Step 3.Rounds 3 and 4 Engagement

November - January 2021

Stakeholder engagement (targeted)

Stakeholder engagement (wide)

Step 4.Engagement Report


Project Steering Committee

Over the coming months, council will work with a Project Steering Committee to prepare a ten-year plan to grow our economy and improve the wellbeing of our communities. The Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2021-31 Steering Committee has been appointed and a starting meeting held on 20 August.

The council has selected steering committee members from industries that all sectors in our shire are in some way linked to and rely on, as well as those most impacted by COVID-19. 

Small to medium sized businesses are critical to our economy and community. Most of these are from sectors that produce or process goods, like agriculture and manufacturing, as well as service sectors such as transport and retail. Overall the majority of our businesses directly or indirectly service our primary industries.

We would like to introduce the Project Steering Committee members. Through the process of preparing the Economic Development Strategy, council and the steering committee will encourage all sectors to make a contribution, at several points in the process. 

The committee members are:

• Jane Hosking - Executive Officer, North Central Local Learning And Employment Network (NCLLEN)
• Troy Cole - General Manager, Stawell Gold Mine
• Trent Carter - Mixed Farmer, Wallaloo Park
• Ryan Milgate - Mixed Farmer and VFF Wimmera Branch Vice President
• Geoff McDermott - Navarre Minerals
• Michael Fitzgerald - Department of Education
• James Sorahan - Executive Director, MCA Victoria
• Ben Duxson - Glendemar Merinos Stud
• Marc Sleeman - CEO, Grampians Tourism
• Tim McCartney - Economic Development Manager, Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
• Kate Pryde - CEO, Stawell Regional Health 
• Councillor Tony Driscoll - Project Steering Committee Chair
• Liana Thompson - CEO, Northern Grampians Shire Council

Due for completion in early 2021, the Strategy will define what we want the future to look like, what pathways we will pursue to get there, and what actions we will take to pursue those pathways. It will be about practical things that we can and must do.

The Strategy will adopt the widely held view that economic development, at the highest level, is about delivering programs or activities that aim to improve the economic wellbeing and quality of life for the community. With this as the foundation, Northern Grampians Shire Council has the view that economic development aims to:

"Affect the evolution of our region’s financial, social, human and institutional capital through programs and activities. This will create stronger conditions that allow our communities to improve wellbeing and quality of life."



Economic development is not the responsibility of a sole organisation or government body. It is a collective effort, with local government playing a critical role in leading the actions. Together with the Project Steering Committee, council will work closely with key stakeholders and engage the broader community to develop and deliver the Strategy collaboratively. This will be critical to developing a solid strategy based on evidence and local insight.