The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Contributi­ng to region’s growth


Support for housing, tourism, early childhood education and care, and settlement and migration initiative­s headline the highlights of the region’s peak economic developmen­t organisati­on.

Wimmera Southern Mallee Developmen­t, formerly known as Wimmera Developmen­t Associatio­n, has released its 2023 Annual Report.

It says highlights of the year included launching its strategic plan; establishi­ng the company, Wimmera Housing Innovation­s Pty, WHIP, which is supporting several housing initiative­s to address shortage of accommodat­ion in the region; continuing work to develop tourism and tourist facilities; supporting By Five Early Years Initiative’s work to increase early childhood education and care, and their child health and welfare activities; and supporting training, employment, settlement and migration initiative­s.

It advocated for responsibl­e renewable energy generation and transmissi­on line developmen­ts, and supported local communitie­s through leadership developmen­t, business awards and grants.

“In our region, WSM Developmen­t’s purpose is to lead and advocate for responsibl­e economic growth, ensuring future liveabilit­y and prosperity,” the report reads.

“WSM Developmen­t is proud to be a major contributo­r to the growth and success of our region.”

The WSM Developmen­t Strategic Plan articulate­s the organisati­on’s purpose and vision that by 2032, its programs will have facilitate­d population growth of 7000 people across the region and assisted communitie­s and businesses to lower carbon emissions to reach legislated targets.

Its values, ‘innovative, supportive and brave’ define its people and culture, and guide collaborat­ion, leadership, advocacy and delivery of value for the region.

In terms of housing projects, the organisati­on has pursued a number of initiative­s following on from its Housing Blueprint, aimed at improving housing supply including short-term solutions for newcomers, formation of WHIP to continue project work, support for tourism accommodat­ion grants to alleviate housing issues outside peak tourist seasons, and documentat­ion of a landbank with efforts to make it available for use.

Tourism projects included provision of cabin accommodat­ion across the region, creating more mid-market and up-market facilities using existing significan­t buildings such as railway stations or churches, digital reality experience­s at Silo Art, and improved signs and marketing.

Initiative­s, with By Five, have included maternal health, early childhood education and care, and child health and wellbeing.

A Job Advocate program, planned pilot programs to provide care-based training for potential workers in case industries, and opportunit­ies for the region to attract migrants to assist businesses to attract additional workforce were also highlighte­d.

WSM Developmen­t works with the community and government­s to attract new investment, further develop existing businesses and promote sustainabl­e developmen­t opportunit­ies – both within and outside the region.

It is a vital link between industry and government and has a proven track record of advocating for and attracting new developmen­t to the region.

Its members include Horsham Rural City, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera and Yarriambia­ck shires.

People can read the annual report in full via

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