New model to drive economic and tourism development

Published on 09 October 2023

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Mildura Rural City Council is ushering in a new era for economic and tourism development in our region after Councillors last month endorsed a new model to deliver these functions.

The Economic and Tourism Development Framework features two independent advisory boards, dedicated to economic and tourism growth respectively.

These boards will guide strategic direction, while Council’s Strategy and Growth department will take on the operational functions currently delivered by Mildura Regional Development.

Mildura Mayor Liam Wood said endorsement of the framework followed an independent examination of approaches to providing economic and tourism opportunities.

"This was an important process to look at the role local government plays in delivering these critical functions in other municipalities across Victoria," Cr Wood said.

"It revealed through benchmarking of similar-sized Councils that in most cases responsibility for economic development and tourism falls to local government."

The Mayor said it also examined how Council worked with Mildura Regional Development, highlighting opportunities for greater collaboration.

"Council and Mildura Regional Development have enjoyed a strong partnership for many years, becoming even stronger over the past 12 months with major projects such as Light/State, which demonstrated the benefits of working more closely together," Cr Wood said.

"This new framework is really an evolution of this partnership, combining expertise and functions under the Mildura Rural City Council banner.

"This promises a whole host of benefits, including making better use of our combined resources and skills, and taking advantage of the expertise across Council's various departments."

Mildura Regional Development Chair Geoff Thomson echoed Cr Wood's comments.

"From our board’s perspective, we are fully supportive of this new framework which is a natural evolution in progressing economic development and tourism growth in our region," Mr Thomson said.

"After six years, we found ourselves in a position where, particularly with some of our larger projects, our current structure doesn’t suit the scale of projects and objectives we've identified.

"We’ve gone from an organisation with a small budget doing economic development and tourism to undertaking major projects.

"Transitioning to Mildura Rural City Council, which we know has a strong emphasis on tourism and advocating to state and Federal governments, simply makes sense, particularly from a resourcing perspective."

Mr Thomson said maintaining the independence enjoyed by the existing Mildura Regional Development Board was an important inclusion in the framework.

"The independent input from the business and tourism sectors is vital and will remain, but will be more focused with dedicated advisory boards for each sector, which is a positive step," he said.

Cr Wood said a transition plan is being finalised to guide movement of Mildura Regional Development functions and staff to Council, which is expected to take several months.




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