For more information about Leadership Wimmera Programs, Network and/or Events contact Sue Boddi 5381 6507

December 2015

Chairman Simone Dalton and the Leadership Wimmera Committee wish you and your family a safe and happy Christmas. 
All the best for 2016.

Business Leaders Group 2016

Leadership Wimmera has places available in the Business Leaders Group 2016.
If you have ever thought about applying for entry to this program, why not make 2016 your leadership year? 
Scholarships are available to assist with the fee.  More information and the online application can be found at: or contact Sue Boddi today on 5381 6507 or








December 2015


WDA Welcomes New Executive Director, Ralph Kenyon, farewells Jo Bourke

Ralph Kenyon commenced as WDA’s new Executive Director on    November 23, 2015. Ralph previously worked in economic development and infrastructure. He was appointed the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Hastings Corporation in 2004. Ralph’s previous roles include establishing an economic development strategy for the Mornington Peninsula Shire and serving as the shire’s Economic Development Manager for six years. Ralph is looking forward to promoting the Wimmera and its potential. Based in Horsham, Ralph has already travelled widely throughout the Wimmera and is committed to using his experience to further develop the Wimmera.

WDA’s former Executive Director Jo Bourke retired on November 20th with plans to  write and travel.  Jo was Executive Director for six years and has said that the role has given her much satisfaction.  The role allowed her to work with councils, businesses, regional leaders and migrants to strengthen communities and foster development in the region.


Leadership Wimmera Opportunities

There are vacancies in Business Leaders Group and Regional Leadership Skills 2016 programs.  If you are interested please contact Sue Boddi on 53816507 or email


Training for Employment Scholarships

Information for micro, small and medium businesses
Have you just hired a young employee?
You may be eligible for up to $7,500 to assist with training costs.

Is my business eligible?
Your business is eligible if:
you have fewer than 200 employees
you have hired an unemployed person aged 18-24 years within the last 3 months and they require job specific training.

What type of training is eligible?
Training must be directly relevant to your business and fall within one of the following categories:
Accredited training: Certificate I or II
Non-accredited training: seminars, licences, and tickets required for working in specific industries and worksites
Foundation skills: courses improving employability skills such as reading, writing, numeracy and computer skills.
You can apply by completing the online application form on At least one quote from a reputable training provider must be included for each training activity. Applications close on 30 June 2016.
 For more information, visit  or call 13 28 46.


Victorian Refugee Health Network

The Victorian Refugee Health Network was established in June 2007 to facilitate greater coordination and collaboration amongst health and community services to provide more accessible and appropriate health services for people of refugee backgrounds.
The Network aims to:
build the capacity of the Victorian health sector to respond to health concerns experienced by people of refugee backgrounds and address health inequality through health promotion
support services to be more accessible to people from refugee backgrounds particularly in regional and outer metropolitan areas
improve service coordination for recent arrivals and those with more complex needs
In 2015 about 4,000 new refugees and humanitarian entrants will come to Victoria from many parts of the world. Their health and wellbeing is often affected by their experiences of trauma and hardship as refugees, along with the many adjustments of resettlement. The Network provides a forum for health services and practitioners to work collaboratively to address these needs.
The Network brings together a wide range of representatives from the health, settlement and community sectors who actively participate in the projects and initiatives of the Network. This work builds on the many activities and programs around the state, past and current, to support refugee health and wellbeing.
This website provides information on refugee health, relevant services, resources, protocols and training opportunities.


WDA Office Bearers


 At the December WDA Board Meeting Cr Terry Grange, Yarriambiack Shire Council and Mandi Stewart, DHS were appointed to WDA's Executive Committee. Geoff Lord, Federation University and Darren Webster, Skillinvest were appointed to the Audit and Review Committee. The 2015 WDA Annual Report is available on our website:


Wimmera Internship Program

The first of the students for the 2015/16 program have commenced in the region.
The students successful in gaining placement are from Federation, LaTrobe and Deakin Universities across the faculties of Engineering, Building Surveying, Town Planning and Accounting.
The project is very successful in:

  • Exposing students to regional employment and career opportunities
  • Providing regional businesses with the opportunity to host a young professional person in a skill shortage sector in their business
  • Promoted regional lifestyle to skilled young people
  • Potentially attracting skilled young people to consider a regional career.

Wimmera Online 

The offers local/regional businesses the opportunity to promote their online presence, marketing to a broader global audience, while enabling local residents to access regional business information from the one place.


Usage Statistics

November 2015

1408 Unique visitors to the site

1794 Site visits in total

6515 pages viewed

270 Businesses listed


Visit the website to register your business or search for products and services available within the Wimmera.


Settlement Program Towards 2016

Following from the success of 2015's Loy Krathong Traditional Thai Festival, the Wimmera Settlement Program is looking to hold the festival again in October 2016. Other events being planned for 2016 include a "Scarf Story" luncheon celebrating the diversity of our local community, a program of women's health, craft displays and excursions at Jelly Beans Playgroup and another Planning and Co-ordination Workshop for Settlement Services across the Wimmera.

Happy Karen New Year 2016

The Karen New Year will be celebrated in Nhill on Saturday 9 January from 10.30 am. Click on the poster for more information

‘Building Resilience in Farming’ project

The Building Resilience in Farming project connects Agricultural networks, Farmers and Wimmera Southern Mallee councils, sharing information and hosting events relevant to our region.
During 2015 a number workshops and information sessions have been facilitated to assist local producers with their business planning and diversification.
The project communicates with over 700 agricultural enterprises, networks and Ag support businesses through the monthly calendar of events and quarterly newsletter. 
The calendar of events was recently adopted as the official calendar for the WSM regions drought response events and is promoted at the beginning of each month in the Weekly Advertiser.    
For more information about the project contact Mark Fletcher at Wimmera Development Association on (03) 5381 6505 or
To subscribe to the projects database go to SUBSCRIBE HERE
For the latest news and events from the project follow the links below.
Event Calendar
December Newsletter


‘Look over the Farm Gate’ campaign

Victoria's leading agricultural, health and community groups will partner to deliver “Look over the Farm Gate”, a mental and physical wellbeing initiative earmarked under Premier Daniel Andrews drought support funding. 
The VFF, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Country Women’s Association and National Centre for Farmer Health along with the Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), have all come together on the issue of the effect of drought on mental and physical health in rural areas. 
These organisations will work together on a series of workshops and community events to address mental health, physical health and domestic violence issues in the farming and rural sector.  


Drought Concessional Loans for Eligible Farmers

The Australian Government loans are available for the re-structuring of existing eligible farm debt, funding operating expenses necessary to continue normal operations, and/or drought preparedness and recovery activities.
This scheme is designed to assist farming operations that have experienced significant financial impact as a result of the drought.
Eligible businesses must have been operating for at least three years and have good long-term prospects of returning to profitable trading with sustainable debt levels.
These loans are available through Rural Finance, visit or call them on 1800 260 425.

Resource Assessment Grants

Funding for businesses to obtain a resource assessment is now available. Assessments can be either an energy assessment or materials assessment or both energy and materials assessment)

Grants to eligible business will cover 50% of the cost to engage a consultant to conduct a resource assessment of their operations. Grants are capped at $5,000 for an energy assessment and $10,000 for a materials or combined materials and energy assessment.

A $3000 implementation support bonus is available for businesses that can show evidence of implementing one or more recommendations from their assessment.

The grants are for businesses with 20 to 200 employees. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees are eligible if they have an energy spend of >$50 000 per year or the potential to significantly improve their materials efficiency.



Farm Household Allowance

The Farm Household Allowance (FHA) provides eligible farmers and their partners who are experiencing financial hardship with assistance and support to improve their long-term financial situation. 
The allowance is delivered by the Department of Human Services and is be paid fortnightly at a rate equivalent to Newstart Allowance (or Youth Allowance for those under 22 years).  A Health Care Card will be provided to recipients. Support will also be provided through a dedicated case manager to help recipients assess their situation and develop a plan for the future.
Eligible farmers and their partners will be able to access up to three years of payment. This is designed to give farm families time to get back on their feet and the opportunity to take steps to improve their circumstances. 

Wimmera Southern Mallee Support Contact Agency Information 

The Wimmera Southern Mallee has a large number of support organisations which can assist with mental health, financial support and business information.   
Wimmera Southern Mallee Support Agencies
Buloke Shire Support Agencies




Sue Boddi
Leadership Wimmera Coordinator

Leadership Wimmera
62 Darlot Street, Horsham VIC 3400
Phone: (03) 5381 6507