Murrindindi Shire Council has appointed a project manager to support the delivery of a two-year project to identity and develop regional opportunities for innovation as the municipality transitions away from native timber harvesting.
The Victorian Government recently announced $400,000 in funding under the Victorian Forestry Plan to support preparation of a Local Development Strategy for the communities of Marysville, Buxton, Taggerty and Alexandra.
“This project will assist our communities who are directly affected by the transition away from native timber harvesting to identify and develop opportunities for economic diversification,” Council said in a statement.
“The community-led project will support growth and job creation in established and new industries and deliver long-term economic and social benefits.”
Newly appointed Project Manager, Matt Thomas, will support delivery of the project over the next two years.
“I’m excited to work with local communities to support the future economic growth of the area through this important project. I will be working as an independent and impartial facilitator for all of our community’s voices,” said Mr Thomas.
“I have a strong connection to Murrindindi Shire, having lived here for eight years with my family. During my time here I have had the pleasure of working with many community members, groups and businesses across the Shire with diverse interests and priorities.
“I’ve worked within Council and for several businesses in the area. Most recently, I have been involved in a wide range of economic development projects, including the Lake Eildon Activation Masterplan and Great Victorian Rail Trail Art Project.
“I look forward to working alongside some familiar faces and meeting many new people from across a range of sectors to explore future innovation opportunities,” he said.
Initial planning has commenced, with drop-sessions planned for mid-December to provide more information about the project and answer any questions.
Expressions of interest are also being sought from community members to join a Community Reference Group to provide input and advice, and to support the implementation of the project during its early stages.
Council and the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions will be working in partnership to provide support to the locally-led project.