Strat­egy to fo­cus on tourism towns

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - LIFTOUT -

An eco­nomic devel­op­ment strat­egy that iden­ti­fies Noo­jee, Wal­halla and Yar­ragon as three pri­or­ity des­ti­na­tion ar­eas has been adopted by Baw Baw Shire.

Fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion with in­dus­try, govern­ment, com­mu­nity and tourism groups, the strat­egy iden­ti­fied a range of key projects across the shire’s lead­ing and de­vel­op­ing busi­ness sec­tors that will fo­cus on in­creas­ing em­ploy­ment and eco­nomic pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Four pil­lars iden­ti­fied in the strat­egy in­clude busi­ness en­gage­ment, busi­ness at­trac­tion, busi­ness ad­vo­cacy and tourism.

Of­fi­cers said th­ese cat­e­gories were the “step­ping stones” that would set up Baw Baw’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment suc­cess.

The strat­egy out­lines a tourism mar­ket­ing plan to gen­er­ate mo­men­tum for tourism suc­cess while iden­ti­fy­ing Wal­halla and Moun­tain Rivers, Noo­jee and Yar­ragon as key des­ti­na­tions.

Des­ti­na­tion ac­tion plans for the three pri­or­ity tourism ar­eas also are in­cluded in the strat­egy.

A re­port to coun­cil said busi­ness at­trac­tion to the shire was very im­por­tant to gain at­ten­tion from in­di­vid­u­als out­side the shire to visit and also at­tract new em­ploy­ees to the area who are cur­rently work­ing out­side the shire.

Th strat­egy aims to cre­ate al­liances with lo­cal busi­nesses and non-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions to pro­vide the best out­come for their busi­ness.

Of­fi­cers said the strat­egy also ac­knowl­edged tourism was a ma­jor player in the shire’s econ­omy, yet most of the visi­tors only came for the day and ma­jor­ity were from Vic­to­ria.

Cr Danny Goss said eco­nomic devel­op­ment was an area that had been well and truly un­der re­sources for some time.

He said the strat­egy fo­cused on four key ar­eas in­clud­ing busi­ness en­gage­ment, busi­ness at­trac­tion, busi­ness ad­vo­cacy and tourism.

“We are work­ing hard to at­tract new busi­ness to the shire,” he said.

Cr Goss said Wal­halla, Noo­jee and Yar­ragon were the shire’s three “hero des­ti­na­tions.”

“Eco­nomic devel­op­ment is crit­i­cal. It pro­vides jobs and tourism to our area,” he said.

Cr Goss said the strat­egy would help to stim­u­late eco­nomic devel­op­ment and in turn more jobs,” he said.

Cr Peter Kos­tos said the pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sion be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced in Baw Baw would dic­tate where eco­nomic devel­op­ment would oc­cur.

He said keep­ing younger peo­ple in the shire with em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties was a pri­or­ity.

Cr Mikaela Power said with­out an ac­tion plan, coun­cil did not have a di­rec­tion to get things done.

She said in the past eco­nomic devel­op­ment had been a tricky thing to get done.

“Peo­ple have been look­ing for it and we need to be on the front foot and con­trol­ling the devel­op­ment we want to hap­pen,” she aid.

Cr Tri­cia Jones said the strat­egy pro­vided a strate­gic frame­work of how to achieve suc­cess.

“A healthy small busi­ness sec­tor is the base for a healthy econ­omy.

Cr Jones said coun­cil’s new pri­or­ity plan­ning team would give a clear mes­sage that “Baw Baw is open for busi­ness.”

Cr Jones said tourism pro­vided di­rect ben­e­fits to the com­mu­nity that could be mea­sured. But, she said the mar­ket­ing plan within the strat­egy was most ex­cit­ing.

One of the ini­tia­tives in­tro­duced by coun­cil’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment unit is a “think tank” get to­gether on a quar­terly ba­sis that aims to be­ing to­gether a small group if lead­ers from dif­fer­ent busi­ness and com­mu­nity back­grounds.

The strat­egy also out­lines as­sis­tance the eco­nomic devel­op­ment unit can pro­vide new busi­nesses, in­clud­ing a pri­or­ity plan­ning team.

“The on­go­ing re­tail em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties would be par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for young peo­ple, who of­ten must travel out­side War­ragul to get jobs.

“Coun­cil has also iden­ti­fied fur­ther po­ten­tial devel­op­ment sites in both War­ragul and Drouin which are zoned for bulky goods and ideal for devel­op­ment, and have the po­ten­tial to gen­er­ate fur­ther eco­nomic and em­ploy­ment growth,” the strat­egy states.

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