Colac Otway Shire Council will pursue opportunities to encourage new investment, business and industry to stimulate economic and population growth with the help of $15,000 Victorian Government grant announced today by the ember for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney.
“Over the past five years, Colac Otway Shire has undergone significant growth and change,” Ms Tierney said.
“The Shire is experiencing population growth in its major service centre Colac, as well as along the coast, while population change in smaller rural towns has slowed.
“Despite drought in many parts of Victoria, the agricultural industry in the region is thriving due largely to reasonable rainfall and local investment in dairy, lamb and timber processing.
“The tourism industry continues to grow on the back of increased visitation to the Great Ocean Road and hinterland areas, and retail investment is booming through the arrival of a number of major retail chains.”
Ms Tierney said Colac Otway Shire Council’s ability to manage recent growth and change had been assisted through the development and implementation of its Economic Development and Tourism Strategy 2004-2009, with more than 90% of the recommendations and actions implemented or ongoing.
“With the strength of the local agricultural industry, completion of the Geelong Ring Road and the duplication of the Princes Highway from Geelong to Winchelsea, Colac Otway Shire is predicted to experience further population and business growth in the short- to medium-term,” Ms Tierney said.
“To help manage this growth, the Council will undertake a strategic planning process resulting in the development of the Action Agenda for Economic Development 2009-2012 strategy, which will provide key actions that will help develop a sustainable local community and local economy.
“The strategy, to which Colac Otway Shire Council is contributing $15,000, will help the council plan for the key economic development areas with the Shire, including agriculture, education and training, health and community services, retail, tourism, and partnerships and regional structures.”
Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Jacinta Allan said the Colac Otway Shire Action Agenda for Economic Development 2009-2012 strategy was an important part of the Victorian Government’s $13.5 million Provincial Planning initiative that was helping many local councils work to attract new investment into Provincial Victoria.
“The Provincial Planning initiative is funded under Moving Forward, the Victorian Government’s $502 million action plan to make Provincial Victoria a great place to live, work, invest and raise a family,” Ms Allan said.