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Values, Principles & Approach

A municipality known for its economic diversity, supporting amenities, welcoming investment environment, employment and growth opportunities. Liveability attracts investment, which generates jobs. Jobs attract people and people attract funding. Funding creates amenity; amenity creates liveability; liveability attracts skills and skills generates investment.

Values, Principles & Approach

Core Principles
1. Work as part of a team: The Economic Development Strategy should be implemented so that it contributes to the Council’s five fundamental objectives
outlined in the Council Plan. This can be achieved through collaboration across all divisions of Council. That is,
the Economic Development Unit is not the only part of Council that should be involved in economic
development. Council officers’ skill base, professional
development and its program of activity should focus
on areas with the greater opportunity for leverage (e.g.
planning, sport & recreation, community, development and
engineering services all have a role to play in economic
2. Ensure both flexibility and adaptability: A common error in strategic
planning is an overemphasis on developing a detailed
action plan and making fixed investments. Although clarity
and specific actions are necessary, there also needs
to be scope for both rapid response to newly emerging
opportunities (flexibility) and the capacity to learn as new
information comes to light and respond to this by changing
interventions and investments (adaptability). This requires
a capacity to take calculated risks and the implementation
of continuous improvement mechanisms, including
information collection and analysis. Without these, the
Shire’s efforts and economic development will not progress.

3. Use evidence-based planning: All of the actions outlined in
this Strategy are based on evidence compiled during the
background research. The compilation and thorough
analysis of evidence, including quantitative modelling,
provides greater certainty to support decision-making
and avoids high risk policy missteps. It is an essential
principle of Council operations.
4. Focus on causes not consequences: Underlying features of the
Southern Grampians economy will continue to generate the
same outcomes if they are not addressed. Evaluating and
testing the issues will help to reveal the causes of economic
problems and thereby provide a pathway to a solution.
5. Facilitate the business community: With the exception of areas
of intractable market failure, Council’s role should be one
of facilitation and capacity
building in the business
community. Council should
be an important resource to
support all local businesses
and prospective investors. This
requires ongoing and regular
interaction with enterprises
and, where relevant,
governance structures that
leverage from the business
sector’s skills. It also means
redirecting Council’s current
efforts to include facilitation
as a core principle.

Strategy Aim

Develop a clear understanding of the Southern Grampians economy in order to identify the most effective way that the Council can contribute to expanding the economic base, attract and retain residents of all age groups and stimulate population growth.

Strategy Objectives

Key Objectives
1. A commitment to understanding the economy: Reflecting the core principle of evidence-based planning, the Council will commit to understanding how the Shire’s economy functions and how Our Shire cont. this changes over time. This will require an investment in ongoing data collection, consultation and analysis.
2. Attracting and retaining a skilled labour force: Labour shortages are a growth impediment across the Shire’s industries. Research has emphasised the importance of population growth to address thin labour markets and labour shortages. Without intervention, these problems will intensify due to low growth and population ageing. The research also shows that certain population thresholds can stimulate higher and/ or more stable growth rates. Reaching certain labour market sizes results in more diverse and deeper labour pools.
3. Supporting and leveraging from major projects: Major projects are one of the four main growth drivers. With both positive and negative attributes they require an early and strong commitment to maximise the long-term returns to the community.
4. Supporting the propulsive industry sectors: Agriculture, transport, health, education, tourism, manufacturing, housing, the equine industry and professional services are all important propulsive industry sectors. They have growth potential or the capacity to stimulate growth elsewhere. However, each sector faces constraints that Council has a role in addressing.
5. Creating and enhancing essential major infrastructure and assets: The Shire’s major assets can encourage and impede growth. Planning, development and governance decisions with respect to them need to ensure the economic growth implications are factored in.
6. Supporting the social and economic development of all settlements: Each town in the municipality has a distinctive set of assets. Economic growth and development can be enhanced through an approach that emphasises the ‘theme’ of each.
7. Better governance: The manner in which economic development and other efforts are managed by the Shire will have a critical influence on whether outcomes are successful. The Council must be a leader, facilitator and committed to continuous improvement of how it provides for the governance of the people and enterprises in the Southern Grampians.

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