03 5381 6500


Wimmera Development Association (WDA) is the peak economic development organisation for the Wimmera Southern-Mallee region supporting existing local businesses, and promoting economic development opportunities to investors.
WDA is a vital link between industry and government; lobbying for improved regional infrastructure, and advocating for regional priority issues. Wimmera Development Association is fortunate to have ACE Radio Broadcasters as a valued patron, and the generous support of GWMWater.

Stage two of water study kicks off in the Wimmera Southern Mallee

IMG 4621New research into the economic and health benefits generated by waterways in the Wimmera Southern Mallee is about to enter its second stage.

The socio-economic research by Street Ryan plans to repeat its assessment each year up to 2020. Last year’s research revealed the mental health benefits and economic income generated from rivers, weir pools and lakes to Victorians across the region. The report, which may provide a benchmark for other research across the state, found that water provides a critical outlet for physical and mental relaxation, improving the overall health and wellbeing of residents and visitors – more important than ever during times of drought.

Last year’s research commissioned by Wimmera Development Association (WDA) and funded by the Andrews Labor Government found that participation in recreational water activities in the region saw a total cost saving of more than $8.5 million dollars to both the health and mental health sectors in 2016-17. The study highlighted that more than 437,000 locals and visitors visited the 24 waterways analysed in the Wimmera Southern Mallee region in 2017 with a total economic benefit of $27.5 million.

Water for Victoria, recognises the recreational value of water to communities and the role water plays in helping sustain resilient, strong and healthy communities. New water legislation champions the requirement for water managers to consider the benefit and values of recreational water to communities. As part of this recognition, we have recently committed to fund works at Green Lake at Sea Lake so the whole community can gain from the benefits recreational water brings.

The Labor Government is also strongly supporting recreational fishing through our Target One Million plan.

This year’s study will go into more depth to understand the health benefits of the region’s waterways. The project will undertake surveys and collect data from across the region at locations where individuals and groups enjoy our lakes, rivers and weir-pools for recreational activity. It will also assess some waterways not previously included such as Lake Toolondo. Online interviews will be able to be completed by the community from January 1st to March 31st via the Wimmera Development Association website (www.wda.org.au).

This project involves a cooperative effort with local government and local community groups to catalogue the various benefits recreational and environmental water in rivers, weir pools and lakes provide to towns in the region and try and quantify them in terms of social and economic benefits. For example the Jeparit Fishing Competition brings substantial financial benefits with visitors coming from around Victoria. Various camp grounds adjoining lakes attract campers and fishers from both within and outside the region.

This research will help understand where investment to develop infrastructure and services associated with recreational water is needed.

To complete the survey  CLICK HERE


Media Contact:

 Mr Ralph Kenyon - Executive Director

 Wimmera Development Association

 (03) 5381 6500

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Measuring the social and economic value of recreational & environmental water in the Wimmera Southern Mallee

22nd September 2017

horsham fishing competitiondb2a026fdfec67aca7a3ff00001883abWimmera Development Association (WDA) in conjunction with project partners, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, GWMWater and the Wimmera Southern Mallee councils has completed a socio-economic study into the value of recreational and environmental water to the region.

This study has been a cooperative effort with local government and local community groups to catalogue and quantify the various social and economic benefits recreational and environmental water in rivers, pools and lakes provide to towns in the region.

The study reports on a series of surveys and data collected from across the region at locations where individuals and groups enjoy our lakes, rivers and weir-pools for recreational activity.

Key findings from the report have estimated in 2017 in excess of 437,000 people visited the 24 waterways that were surveyed, which included over 196,000 visitor nights and a high rate of both active and passive local participation. Visitation to the surveyed sites was made up by 43% of Wimmera Southern Mallee residents, 31% other Victorian Country and 11% Melbourne. The total regional economic contribution was estimated at $27.5 million.

The report has also highlighted the important contribution to the region’s towns by providing enhanced amenity and a critical outlet for physical and mental relaxation, improving the overall health and wellbeing of residents and visitors.  

An example of the substantial financial benefits of visitors coming from around Victoria was evident during the Horsham Fishing competition, with significant expenditure surveyed, increased visitation to small businesses and reports of increased sales by many businesses. This event is one of many that attract visitors to the region on an annual basis.

Various campgrounds adjoining lakes also bring and attract campers and fishers to the region, from both within and outside the state.

“Our Water Plan champions the concept of shared benefits for water management by ensuring that authorities are planning and managing water in a way that achieves multiple positives for the community’, Water Minister Lisa Neville said. “This study is an example of how to incorporate these values into decision making and ensuring the importance of recreational values are recognised as part of local economies and in improving the health and wellbeing of communities".

One of the aims of the study was to establish a base line data set and consistent measurement methods that will allow for a longitudinal study to identify seasonal patterns in coming years. Once collected and analysed the information will provide a better understanding of the economic impact of environmental and recreational water as well as the social benefits that these resources provide to the community.

We now have a better understanding of how to measure these values so that we can plan for future tourism, recreational and infrastructure facilities. Study outputs will also help to demonstrate the local and regional impacts to both State and Commonwealth Governments in order to attract support and funding for further development of infrastructure and services associated with recreational water.

Street Ryan Pty Ltd was been appointed as project consultant to develop a series of questionnaires that will be shared with local Committees of Management, sporting clubs and others likely to have an involvement in recreational water activity. The majority of the funding for the project has been made available by the Victorian Government via the Wimmera CMA.

VIEW THE FULL REPORT HERE:  Wimmera Southern Mallee: Socio-economic value of Recreational and Environmental Water 2017

As part of WimmeraCMA's program to continually improve our communities understanding of the benefits of water for the environment a film has been released coinciding with the release of this report.  




Western Passenger Rail

WPRMore than 110,000 people live in Western Victoria, with only limited access to passenger train travel.

A further 60,000 people living in south east South Australia could also benefit from improved connectivity through Victoria to provincial and capital cities.

Regional Councils have recognised the need for improved public passenger services for many years. A recent detailed study commissioned by eight Western Victorian Councils proved there is significant demand for improved public transport and linkages to Ballarat and Melbourne.

The Western Rail Project is seeking:

  • More passenger rail services between Ararat and Melbourne
  • The return of passenger rail services to other parts of Western Victoria, including Horsham and Hamilton
  • Extra coach services to improve connections between road and rail services
  • Upgrades to all operating rail stations in Western Victoria to ensure they are accessible to disabled and elderly people.

For more information CLICK HERE

Wimmera Internship Program Expressions of Interest - CLOSED

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Wimmera Development Association is pleased to announce that the Wimmera Internship Program will once again be offered to businesses and students across the Wimmera Southern Mallee over the 2017-18 Summer break.

The rural Victorian community can experience difficulty in attracting professionals to live and work in rural areas. A challenge is to find new and innovative ways to retain students and graduates within communities, and to attract graduates as new residents.

WDA seeks to support rural communities by highlighting the work opportunities available to students and graduates, and to assist councils to grow their local economies.

This project works closely with local employers to determine current skills shortages or workplace opportunities that can be matched with students from relevant tertiary institutions. The students will be placed based on an alignment of skills and experience, as determined by the employer, and will be remunerated for their time. Students will also live in the local community to build their experience of working and living rurally.

This project will support successful applicants to link in with Universities to involve students with practical work placements as part of their studies.

The project seeks to broaden the options of many students, provide them with valuable work experience, develop personal connections and open up their views on working and living in a rural community.

Wimmera Internship Promotional Video (5 minutes)

Wimmera Internship Promtional Video Oscar Furniture (1 minute)

Wimmera Internship Promtional Video West Wimmera (1 minute)

Wimmera Internship Promtional Video Northern Grampians ( 1 minute)


Building Resilience in Farming




The regional project was developed and auspiced by West Wimmera Shire Council and provides a link between existing agricultural networks, councils and regional organisations, to share and promote sustainability and adaptation information to the region.  Wimmera Development Association manages “Building Resilience in Farming”. 


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WSM Agri Event Calendar

March 2018



Edition 12 - May 2017

Edition 11 - February 2017

Edition 10 - September 2016

Edition 9 - June 2016



Project Achievements

¨ Strengthen existing agricultural and agribusiness networks

P Establishment of a regional agribanking network

P Assist regional networks through the Calendar of Events and Newsletter   

             ¨ Provide a focus on sustainable agriculture through the promotion of relevant information

P Newsletter and events calendar mailed out to over 800 contacts (and growing) including local networks and suppliers of regional services  

             ¨ Promote practical implementation of sustainable farming practices in the Wimmera and demonstration models for the farming and agribusiness sectors

P Information provided through various sources such as newsletter and social media

P Regional events and activity information submitted by a range of industry networks 

             ¨ Share stories and case studies of practical implementation of sustainable farming practices in the Wimmera and demonstration models for the farming and agribusiness sectors

                 P Regional case stories showcasing diversification, change of practice and value adding across the Wimmera Souther Mallee

             ¨ Improved understanding by Councils of information channels that can effectively provide services, information and innovation technologies suitable for farming and agribusiness consumption

P Establishment of a regional Agribanking Network which incorporates council’s senior management teams

P Project acts as a point of contact for councils and industry to gather information         

             ¨ Bring councils closer to our farming communities and agricultural industries

P Council participation in project activities

P Regional events and activity information submitted by a range of industry networks 

             ¨ Promote ongoing change of practices beyond the life of the project

             P  Council participation in project activities

             ¨ Build local skills in climate change adaptation

P Federation University literature review and gap analysis informs future planning  

             ¨ Brokerage of sustainability information and knowledge for farmers and agribusiness in the Wimmera

P Distribution of the newsletter and events calendar

P Information sessions on diversification 


Building Resilience in Farming works with existing networks to build an annual events calendar to assist with forward planning and promotion of events across the region also minimising date clashes and support will be provided where required for planning, delivery and promotion of these events.  Workshops and information sessions will be delivered to assist with information gaps in the industry as well as additional network events (forums/breakfasts/guest speakers and workshops).

For further information contact Mark Fletcher - Project Officer 5381 6505 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Project Resources can be found on the RESOURCES page

 Building Resilience in Farming is Auspiced by West Wimmera Shire Council and delivered

by Wimmera Development Association across the Wimmera Southern Mallee region. 


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