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Reprint: Upper King Valley future – Part 2

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This is the second in a series of reprints of opinion pieces published on the web prior to the development of Blogging software dating back to 1999. This one comes from the King Valley COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER – Published 20th February 2003

What Will Become of The Upper King Valley?
Part 2 …How we can boost the local economy … by Greg Naylor

In Part 1, we speculated on the declining population of the Upper King Valley. An argument was raised to show that we need to attract young people of child bearing age to the valley to avoid becoming a retirement village for the RCoW. However, these people will only come if it is economically advantageous to them.

At the moment, the local economy and the spread of wealth leaves a lot to be desired. In 2001, council figures showed the average family income of the King Valley to be around $23,000 per annum. Yes, that is Family Income, not individual income. That sort of money will attract nobody. We need more wealth in the valley.

The secret of wealth is simple … Earn more than you spend!

At a community level, our biggest problem is that the money we earn has to be spent outside the valley increasing the wealth of Wangaratta and other places. As we will always have to buy our supplies outside, the only way the community wealth can improve is by (a) recycling more money in the valley and (b) attracting more outside money into the local economy.

We have to find ways of recycling more of our earnings within the valley. No one can deny that more money is being recycled in Whitfield as a result of the establishment of the Gourmet Garage. As an outlet for local produce, more people in the King Valley are benefiting from this recycling process. Support for the new hardware outlet, also in Whitfield, will benefit us all simply with the fuel savings in avoiding the 100 km round trip to buy a consumable hardware item. If it can be obtained in the valley, your purchase will boost the local economy.

A further contribution can be made by using local tradesmen and services in preference to those from other places. Employers can help by employing local people if they are available. All these measures recycle the money that we earn. The longer we can keep it in the valley the better off we all are.

True wealth only comes when the products and services of the valley are sold to people on the other side of the hill. Our farmers do that when they send cattle to market. Our vineyards and wineries do it when they market their products to the wider world. And you do it if you work outside the valley and bring your wages back home. What we need are new ways to market our products and skills to the greater world.

Whilst ad-hoc individual development will benefit the area, there needs to be a whole-of-community approach to exploit the earning opportunities that already exist in the Upper King Valley. As you already know, many of these opportunities are tourism based and in the next part, we will explore how the community, as a whole, can make its contribution to the future of the Upper King Valley. Over the next few editions, we will reproduce the Executive Summary of the Tourist Route Master Plan to see where we are heading.


Written by Greg Naylor

1 August 2008 at 10:00 am

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