GREG'S LEGACY

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Wangaratta economy on the up and up

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In these times of drought and economic downturn, it is encouraging to find the RCoW economic development unit working hard to meet the challenge. Some of the highlights of their work include:

The proposed Wine Bottling, Warehousing and Distribution Facility would boost the local economy by retaining the profits currently lost through bringing in outside contract organisations.

With global warming being the major news topic, it is good to see our municipality making a start with the Wangaratta Wastewater and Re-use Study.

The growth of Burder Industries in Sinclair Drive and their expansion into freight and logistics is a local success story with the land near the airport being valued for use as a road based logistics centre.


RCoW November Council Meeting Business Paper
Item 10.2.1.2 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT UNIT REPORT
Development Unit Administration 25.007.001.



Background

The following is the economic development unit report for the month of October
2006.

Economic Development
Wine Bottling, Warehousing and Distribution Facility
Following the support given by stakeholders in the wine industry a justification for funding from the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development has been prepared for a feasibility study to establish the need and likely benefits.

A request for quotations has been prepared and sent to a number of consultants. We have received 2 replies and there will be a steering committee established to review the submissions and decide which consultant company has the best fit for our requirements. The steering committee will be established by 17 November 2006 after discussion between the Rural City of Wangaratta, Alp Valleys Agribusiness Forum and Regional Development Victoria.

Wangaratta Wastewater and Re-use Study
The workshop with the relevant stakeholders and key agencies took place on 17 October 2006 when the further assessment and prioritisation of the recommendations from the Stage I Scoping Study undertaken by GHD was considered. Consequently the Economic Development unit prepared a discussion paper based on the industry feedback and taking on board the wider economic and community benefits. This will form the basis for further discussion by stakeholders and refinement of the project brief to move the project to the next
stage.

Industrial Land
Work is under way to prepare for Stage II subdivision in Sinclair Drive to accommodate the Burder Industries initiative for the trades cluster and production facility. In addition a 14 lot industrial subdivision with lots varying from 1900sqm to 4816sqm, will be created as part of the total project.

A valuation is currently being undertaken on the 25.4 hectare council owned property adjoining the Wangaratta Aerodrome to enable a formal Expression of Interest process to be undertaken to establish a road based logistics centre on the site.

Beef Industry Forum
Wangaratta Unlimited together with the Victorian Farmer’s Federation (VFF) cohosted the Beef Industry Forum on Thursday 12 October 2006 at the Wangaratta Gateway Quality Hotel. Key speakers from Security Foods, VFF and Department of Primary Industries provided an ideal forum for the regions beef industry producers to gain an insight into the Security Foods project and the opportunities it could provide for the agribusiness sector.

The forum was an outstanding success with in excess of 160 attendees and fullfilled part of Wangaratta
Unlimited’s communication strategy to support the planned process for the development.

Tobacco Industry Closure
The Rural City of Wangaratta has been collaborating with the Alpine Shire and the Department of State and Regional Development to determine a range of appropriate strategies to address the immediate, medium and long term issues which will confront all stakeholders impacted by the planned cessation of tobacco production in the region.

This formal reference group has established a Post Tobacco Working Party to implement the actions from the determined strategy. The Executive Manager – Economic Development is the Rural City of Wangaratta’s representative on the working party.

Tourism
Visitor Information Centre
Numbers through the Visitor Centre are down on last October by approximately 5% due to the Jazz Festival being held in that month.

The Visitor Centre will be the ticket and information collection point for the Jazz Festival this year. Council’s IT staff have been integral in setting up a dedicated ticket sales desk which provided a more professional and collaborative approach to meeting visitor expectations.

Great Victorian Bike Ride (GVBR)
The Great Victorian Bike Ride will begin in Wangaratta on Saturday 25 November 2006. The Tourism Unit has been working with Bicycle Victoria and community groups to encourage participants to arrive in Wangaratta a day or two earlier.

The Rural City of Wangaratta is holding a ‘mini-jazz festival’ in King George Gardens on Friday night, 24 November 2006. We anticipate around 3,500 riders will participate in the GVBR.

Jazz Festival Strategic Review
Consultants have been appointed to undertake the strategic review and business plan for the Jazz Festival. Interviews with key stakeholders have been held. The consultants will be attending the Festival and then holding a workshop with the Board post the event. A final report is due in February and will be provided to Council for consideration.

RCOW Sponsorship of La Dolce Vita
In recognition of the severe frost and drought impact on the King Valley viticulture sector, Council have provided an additional one off marketing grant to the organisers of the La Dolce Vita event to be held on 18-19 November 2006. The specific marketing initiative will focus on visitors from the Melbourne and Shepparton regions.

Skilled Migration
Working collaboratively with the Industry Development Officer we have established a closer relationship with Bruck Textiles. This has resulted in a work placement of a fork lift driver from Sudan, and the advertising of several other skilled positions.

Eight Nurses from Deakin University are travelling to the North East by mini bus on Wed 8 November to meet health sector employers from Mansfield, Benalla, Wangaratta, Alpine and Indigo. It is hoped to establish an ongoing relationship with Deakin University to assist in addressing the nursing shortages within the region.

15 skilled vacancies are currently advertised on the http://www.liveinvictoria Web site and the Provincial Victoria web site. These web sites are heavily promoted and are providing an excellent pathway to matching skilled migrants with potential employers.

Recommendation:
That the report be noted.

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Written by Greg Naylor

18 November 2006 at 11:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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