Infrastructure, housing and transport

Housing and land

One of the great attractions of living in the Wimmera Southern Mallee is the affordability and variety of housing. You can choose to live only a short walk from where you work, on a large lifestyle block on the edge of town or in your own rural dream. Information about housing and a list of real estate agents is available from Live the Grampians Way.

Housing accessibility

While housing in the region is more affordable than it is in larger cities there is a shortage of supply in the areas which are growing. Wimmera Development Association conducted a housing study in 2020 to gain a greater understanding of available housing for rent and purchase at entry, mid-range and executive level and identifying future investment opportunities. The region is experiencing significant shortages when it comes to housing access and availability.

Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Housing Review, 2020 summary document (1Mb PDF)

WDA advocacy for regional infrastructure

Wimmera Development Association advocates for infrastructure improvements on behalf of the Wimmera Southern Mallee region.

Infrastructure priorities

In 2020, WDA responded to the Infrastructure Victoria, Infrastructure Priorities for the Regions report, which identifies the unique opportunities and challenges facing each of Victoria’s regions and identifies recommendations which seek to address them. WDA's submission highlighted that road and rail, renewable energy and digital connectivity were the key infrastructure priorities for the Wimmera Southern Mallee.

Wimmera and Southern Mallee response to Infrastructure Priorities for the Regions (170kb PDF)

Renewable energy zones

WDA prepared a submission in 2021 to fast-track the opportunity for further renewable energy investment in the region. The two new condensers proposed for our region would be of enormous benefit to the whole region and would immediately enable the establishment of more wind farms. 

WDA submission to the Victorian Renewable Energy Zones Development Plan Directions Paper, 2021 (169kb PDF)

Digital connectivity

In 2019, the WDA responded to the Australian Government Regional Connectivity Program to highlight the digital connectivity issues and priorities for the region. 

Wimmera and Southern Mallee submision on Regional Digital Connectivity (204kb PDF)

Rainbow weather radar

The Wimmera Southern Mallee is a major agricultural and food producing region, producing more than half of Victoria’s total grain crop, oilseeds and pulses. Accurate real-time weather information is essential to support these industries. WDA and the region successfully advocated for investment in a new Bureau of Meteorology radar station to be built at Rainbow. The radar was completed in 2020 to fill a gap in the existing radar network.

The Wimmera Weather Radar benefits review, 2020 (2Mb PDF)

Wimmera Weather - Business Case for Improved Weather Services 2015 (3Mb PDF) 

Transport and freight

The Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Transport Group advocates on behalf of local councils - Buloke, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Northern Grampians Shire Council, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack. The group developed the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Transport Strategy (2015) incorporating road and rail infrastructure, aerodrome developments, freight and logistics planning, and interface projects.

Road

The Wimmera Southern Mallee is at the centre of a network of highways linking capital cities and major regional centres.

Highway connections through the region include: 

  • Western Highway from Melbourne to Adelaide
  • Henty Highway from Portland to Mildura, including the Sunraysia Highway
  • Wimmera Highway from Bendigo to Naracoorte

Rail

The Wimmera Intermodal Freight Hub (WIFT) was  established in 2012 and has increased the region's use of rail as an efficient mechanism to transport grain. The WIFT provides a central location for grain storage facilities and grain export processors, improves access to freight depots, grain silos and processing plants, and builds on the regions nationally significant and export focussed grains industry.

The hub is located in Dooen, 7km from Horsham’s town centre, and has transformed the efficient transportation of grain handling and storage in the Wimmera. It is a major transportation benefit for the region, generating time and cost savings for agriculture and other commodity based businesses in the Wimmera.

It is an essential step in meeting increased global demand for our agricultural and mining products. The Wimmera is one of the world’s largest grain, pulse and oilseed growing regions, and exports about 60 per cent of total harvest.

The 23.5ha site provides a central location for grain storage facilities and grain export processors; improves access to freight depots, grain silos and processing plants; and builds on the region’s nationally significant and export focused grains industry. It will:

  • Process up to 18,600 containers within five to six years – more than twice the number of containers handled at the existing Horsham facility; and
  • Reduce handling costs for the terminal operator and for grain producers.

Air

Charter and private aircraft frequently use the small airports located at Horsham, Stawell and Warracknabeal.

Utilities

Three-phase power is available in major towns across the Wimmera Southern Mallee, and natural gas is piped as far west as Horsham. Several large-scale manufacturing and food processing businesses are located further west than Horsham, and have ready and reliable access to LPG. 

The Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline provides a high-quality and reliable water supply to 36 towns across the Wimmera and approximately 7000 rural customers. The East Grampians Rural Pipeline is being rolled out to rural customers in parts of the Northern Grampians Shire during 2021. More information is available from GWMWater.

Telecommunications

The Wimmera and Southern Mallee has a mix of National Broadband Network fixed-line broadband services, mobile services (mainly 4G) and Low Powered Wide Area Networks (LP-WAN) that can support Internet of Things (IoT) applications like remote sensors. 

The Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership is working to improve the Wimmera's digital landscape by actions such as supporting applications to government programs to address mobile blackspots. An Enhanced Broadband project will trial a high-capacity fixed wireless network in Horsham.

More information on priority recommendations for future investment is available through the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership Digital Plan.