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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.  

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO:  WimmeraCMA Video

MAP OF THE PROJECT AREA:  Download here

 

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

Video to attract Health Workers

Wimmera health agencies are confident a new video promoting the uniqueness of the region will help to attract health workers from all corners of the globe.

The four health agencies of the Wimmera Southern-Mallee Health Alliance (WSMHA) launched the video release on Wednesday at the Regional Best Practice and Innovation Forum at Goroke Community Health Centre.

The video clip takes a brief look at the range of people from different backgrounds that have made the move to the region to work and encourages people to consider the Wimmera and Southern-Mallee as a great step for career and lifestyle.

The health services will use the clip on their individual websites, job advertising platforms and social media networks in the hope to highlight the positives of living and working in the region.

WSMHA Spokesperson, Mark Knights, said the video was impressive and would help attract a varied range of health professionals.

“When people look for work in health professional roles, they look at the entire region and its opportunities” Mr Knights said.

“The clip will help show the opportunities for both career progression and great work-life balance in the Wimmera and Southern-Mallee” he said.

“We believe the passion we have and our people have for this region comes across in the clip and will help promote the Wimmera and Southern-Mallee as a great destination for a range of people across the health sector.

It is up to us as a region to convince everyone else what we know is great about everything on our doorstep, this is one way we can do this.”

The video clip, produced by Horsham videographer Lynton Brown, can be viewed on YouTube using the link https://youtu.be/WXKElh6QehI

Measuring the Social & Economic Value of Recreational Water in the Wimmera Southern Mallee

IMG 4634Wimmera Development Association (WDA) in conjunction with project partners, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, West Wimmera Shire, Hindmarsh Shire, Yarriambiack Shire, Horsham Rural City, Northern Grampians Shire, Buloke Shire, and GWMWater is about to undertake a Socio-economic Study into the value of recreational and environmental water to the Wimmera Southern Mallee.

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.

The Wimmera Southern Mallee Recreational Water Values Project is a collaboration between, Wimmera CMA, GWMWater, WDA and the WSM Councils funded by the Victorian Government as part of Water for Victoria.

Street Ryan Pty Ltd has been appointed as project consultant and work has commenced 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.  More...

IMPROVED WEATHER SERVICES – RADAR ANNOUNCEMENT

mapWimmera Development Association is excited by the news that the Wimmera Weather Radar project has been successful in gaining funding from both State and Federal Governments.

WDA has been advocating for the regions’ agriculture sector to gain access to this technology for over 10 years.  A submission was written in 2011 to support the sector and a business case including regional case studies completed in 2015 by WDA. 

Recently a delegation comprising of WDA, Wimmera Southern Mallee CEO’s and Mayors travelled to Canberra to discuss regional priorities including the radar.

WDA would like to thank and acknowledge all who have been involved in the project over many years including regional producers and support agencies, farming networks, RM Consulting Group, WSM councils and local members for their support.

The Weekly Advertiser article – Wimmera Weather Radar Confirmed 6/4/16

Wimmera Mail Times article – Wimmera to receive $5m Weather Radar Station

ABC News article - Weather radar announced for Victorian grain belt, ending 10-year farmer campaign

Official Media Release - Andrews Labour Government puts Wimmera on the Radar

Background

The Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Plan identifies in “Strategic Direction 1: Strengthening the Farming Sector’s Capacity to Prosper in a Changing Climate” that farmers need ‘localized and accurate weather information to enable decisions to be made as seasons unfold’. A priority area for action in the plan is to advocate for ‘weather watch radar in the Wimmera Southern Mallee to enable more timely and effective on-farm operations’.

In November 2016, the Labor Government provided a $15,000 grant for the Wimmera Development Association to establish a business case to have a real-time radar in the local regional area.

This study has now been successfully completed and the Labor Government announced that the weather radar will be one of the first funded projects under the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund.

The Labor Government has committed up to $5 million towards capital costs whilst the Federal Government will cover commissioning costs of $3.25 million, along with all annual operating and maintenance costs for the next 15 years, which will cover the life of the station.

The Wimmera and Southern Mallee areas are major food and fibre producing regions and the Wimmera Doppler Weather Radar Project has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits to the region.

Annual Report 2016

The Wimmera Development Association held the 2016 AGM on Tuesday, 15th November. 

The Annual Report for 2016 is now completed.  Click here to view this document.

To view the 2015 report click here.

To view the 2014 report click here.

To view the 2013 report click here.