Mayoral Column 9 May 2016

Published on 09 May 2016

Loddon tourism in the spotlight

A five year plan to guide Loddon Shire’s tourism direction as part of a cluster of neighbouring municipalities was unveiled in Castlemaine on Friday.

Loddon Shire acting CEO Marg Allan and I, along with key tourism and economic development staff and Loddon tourism business operators attended the launch of The Bendigo Regional Tourism Destination Management Plan.

The plan, which provides a strategic approach to growing tourism within the region, identifies a number of key promotional opportunities.

Some of the key projects include Bridgewater and Inglewood township and foreshore improvements, increasing awareness of indigenous heritage sites as part of the Lake Boort tourism development project, and exploring farm-stay accommodation focusing on the Shire’s agricultural strengths.

What’s encouraging is we’re already seeing aspects of the plan swinging into action with a branding personalities workshop planned for tomorrow (Tuesday 10 May), in a bid to capture the essence of Inglewood and Bridgewater.

Inglewood is also in the spotlight following the production of a television commercial designed to unlock the historic town’s hidden treasures.

The commercial, currently screening on WIN television, is the result of the town’s businesses working with, and contributing to, a separate Council supported project.

We look forward to seeing the advertisement featured, as part of the broader media campaign, at Bendigo Cinemas and on Facebook pages in the coming weeks.

Council supports street art

Young people living in rural areas are entitled to the same educational opportunities as their city cousins.

With this premise firmly in mind, Council has once again actively supported a Street Arts Program which took 24 students from across the Shire to Melbourne to immerse themselves in a three day program.

Council’s recreation and youth officer took a hands on approach, by coordinating and participating in the event organised in partnership with secondary colleges in Wedderburn, East Loddon, Boort and Pyramid Hill.

The Street Arts program, funded through FReeZA, included a studio based component where participants learnt a range of techniques they could use to produce art work displayed in Melbourne alleyways.

The program, which complements the KooL SKooL Program, has been running for four years and is a keenly anticipated part of the arts curriculum at all participating colleges.

Participation in The Street Arts Program helps fulfil Council’s goal of providing a range of cultural opportunities to young people within Loddon Shire.

Explore the world of high speed internet access

With the NBN turned on in Inglewood, Boort, Korong Vale, Serpentine, Laanecoorie and Tarnagulla late last year, many within our geographically diverse municipality have been benefiting from high speed internet.

It’s now time for Pyramid Hill, Dingee and Bridgewater residents to find out how the NBN can help bridge the gap between city and country.

Pyramid Hill residents are expected to be able to have access to the NBN using fixed wireless in about a month, with Bridgewater scheduled to follow suit in December. Construction is scheduled to start soon in Dingee.

Smoother video conferencing, more efficient use of online education tools, home banking, home shopping and on-demand entertainment are made available through high speed internet access.

I would encourage interested residents and community groups to find out more about how having an active NBN service can assist them to do business, study, and manage their household and in doing so, continue to invest in our Shire.

You can check the progress of the NBN roll-out in your area by typing your location or postcode into the interactive NBN network rollout map situated at www.nbnco.com.au

Agricultural traineeships for school leavers

Loddon Shire is undoubtedly facing the challenge of having an ageing community and workforce, but we have a fantastic opportunity to take a step towards turning the tide, with 20 agricultural traineeships to be created through the Drought Support Fund.

Skillinvest is seeking expressions of interest from potential host farmers and trainees to be matched under their guidance.

The trainees will be employed by Skillinvest and placed with host employer farmers under group training employment arrangements for the course of their 18 month traineeship.

Host farmers will be fully subsidised in the first year and partially subsidised in the second year to host an agricultural trainee, creating a win-win situation for the farmer and school leaver.

Throughout the Shire we have been seeing a significant decline in the number of school leavers taking over the family farm, presenting longer term implications for replenishing the ageing agricultural workforce and meeting local skill needs.

I would strongly encourage farmers and school leavers within the Shire to find out more by visiting www.skillinvest.com.au, phoning 1300 308 620 or emailing info@skillinvest.com.au