Wimmera Development Association welcomes economic and community development contributions for our monthly newsletter –

October 2015


Wimmera Weather

WDA is currently preparing a business case for government investment in radar for the region. The business case will build on previous WDA work, and incorporate the information from the recent BOM workshops in Horsham. We are still collecting information from farmers and agronomists from those discussions.
The documentation of a strong agricultural business case, identifying the return on investment in the radar infrastructure through increased productivity, will be critical to the success of this new discussion.
WDA is keen to hear form primary producers and agronomists about their experiences where weather has impacted on their productivity. A form is available at that may be used to supply case study and economic impact information for the WDA business case.

BA @ the Wimmera

Federation University is currently promoting enrolments in a Bachelor of Arts based in Horsham, commencing in 2016. School leavers and mature age students are encouraged to contact the university on 1800 333 864 or visit for more information. 

Engineers Australia – Wimmera Professionals Dinner – 19 November

This function is an open invitation to all regional people interested in hearing about significant regional developments. The dinner function will include a briefing from Kevin Garthwaite, Development Manager with RES Australia about the windfarm proposal on the Kalkee Plains. Professor Elisabetta Barberio, Chief Scientist from Melbourne University will provide an update on the establishment of the Dark Matter laboratory deep in the Stawell Gold Mine. Jo Bourke from Wimmera Development Association and Chris Scott from Wimmera Health Care Group will also speak about regional initiatives.

Bookings open soon – keep an eye on local press for details.

WDA Annual Meeting

The WDA Annual Meeting will be held on 10 November at 7.30pm at Federation University, in Horsham. The meeting will elect the Board of Management for 2015-2016 and present the annual report.
James Flintoft, Acting CEO of Regional Development Victoria and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources has agreed to attend as guest speaker, providing an update on the Victorian Government regional policies.

NBN Rollout Announced


The information provided in the roll out schedule includes the proposed construction work up to September 2018. It will be updated each quarter to include new areas and reflect ongoing variations arising from the planning process.
The following Wimmera towns are included in the current 3 year plan as follows
Horsham  - 1st Quarter 2017
Stawell  and Warracknabeal - 1st Half 2017
Dimboola, Edenhope, Nhill and St Arnaud – 2nd Half 2017 
The rollout schedule can be viewed here 


Apprentice Plumbing Training

Federation University will offer 1st & 2nd year plumbing apprentice training in Horsham from February 2016. Regional plumbing businesses should consider coming along to the information night to find out more. Businesses can book one on one appointments to discuss your training needs. Details 

Wimmera Internship Program

Wimmera Businesses can still register their interest to host a student for placement over the summer period. We have students in Accounting, Engineering, Information Technology and Planning. Contact Tammy McDonald for more information or visit

2016 Applications Leadership Wimmera

Applications for Business Leaders Group and Regional Leadership Skills 2016 programs are being taken online NOW at More information on the website or contact Sue Boddi on 5381 6507 or

WSM Grains Centre of Excellence Regional Development Day

The Wimmera Southern Mallee Grains Centre of Excellence information day was held at Grains Innovation Park on the 4th September and attended by 50 people.  This event was a collaboration between Building Resilience in Farming/WDA and DEDJTR and gave regional agricultural and business leaders an opportunity to see firsthand the R&D being undertaken in the area with tours of the Genebank, Grains Quality, AgFace and the Phenotyping Glasshouse.

The afternoon session included a panel discussion with representatives from industry and government departments discussing the regions opportunities, why the larger companies viewed the Wimmera as an ideal base, what is the regional advantage and how the region can capitalise on this into the future.  The panel discussion was followed by a workshop session.
An action plan has been developed and distributed to all that were invited to the day.  A committee will be formed to implement the recommendations from the day. 

For more information contact Mark Fletcher on (03) 5381 6505   

Drought Concessional Loans - Now Open

From this, $150 million in loan funding has been allocated to the Drought Concessional Loans Scheme in 2015–16. Loans are to assist drought-affected farm businesses manage through and recover from drought and return to viability in the long term. Loans of up to 50 percent of eligible farm business debt to a maximum of $1 million will be available.

Drought concessional loans can be used for:

·         Debt restructuring: Applicants can use the concessional loan to restructure a proportion of their existing eligible debt at a lower interest rate.

·         Operating expenses: Applicants can use the concessional loan to fund operating expenses that are necessary to continue the normal operations of the farm business.

·         Drought recovery and preparedness activities: Applicants can use loan funds to contribute to the cost of activities to recover from and prepare for future drought.

Great Wimmera Duck Race

The Wimmera Health Care Group Foundation will be holding The Great Wimmera River Duck Race on Saturday 28 November at 1.00 pm at the Wimmera River near the Soundshell.  There are great prizes to be won while supporting our hospital’s Foundation. Tickets are available from Hillross, 20 McLachlan Street Horsham. Details here

Refugee Experience Introduction

Grampians Partners in Recovery is providing training on “The Refugee Experience: An Introduction”. This training will look at forced migration and resettlement: the global, national and local picture, what the terms asylum seekers and refugees mean and settlement opportunities and barriers. This training is to be held at the Nhill CFA Meeting Room, Nelson Street Nhill on Tuesday 17 November 9.00 am – 12.30 pm. To register please RSVP by 9 November 2015 to Sue Arthur, West Wimmera Health Service,   Details here

Thai Festival

The “Loy Krathong Festival Upon the River” will be held on 28th October 2015 from 4pm-7pm at the Horsham Angling Clubrooms near the Wimmera River. Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. This falls in November in the Western calendar. It is a way to thank the Water Goddess for a year’s worth of her abundant supply, as well as an apology for polluting the waters. Some people believe that it is also a time to symbolically float away all the anger and grudges you have been holding on to. The festival will consist of a gathering where our Thai community and volunteers will assist our community participants to make Krathongs which consist of a garland decorated with flowers which will be floated out upon the river. Traditional Thai music will be played and there will be a display of Thai dancing. More details from Settlement Officer Julie Flaherty on 5381 6504


Jo Bourke
Executive Director

Wimmera Development Association
62 Darlot Street, Horsham VIC 3400
Phone: (03) 5381 6500