STAWELL - A strong show of confidence by businesses in the region is a strong indication that the Northern Grampians Shire is open for business.
That's the message council is eager to spread across all parts of Victoria and interstate, as it strives to attract new investment and boost populations within its communities.
Council was presented with a report from the Team Leader for Planning and Development, Robert Newbury, indicating solid growth in the areas of business development and expansion.
Mr Newbury said council continued to have a strong focus on economic growth.
"Economic growth remains a top priority within the Business Services and Tourism department and the Planning and Development Services departments, with both teams focused on supporting business and development within the Shire," he said.
"This is achieved through making the most of the strengths and comparative advantages of the Northern Grampians area, together with engagement with businesses and communities across the municipality.
"This partnership supports a number of projects being carried out across the Northern Grampians Shire and this report will highlight current projects which involve planning for the townships of Stawell, St Arnaud, Halls Gap and Great Western."
In line with the 2013 - 2017 Council Plan, Northern Grampians Shire Council has begun the process to appoint a consultant to complete a Red Tape Reduction Strategy, with the overarching goal of reducing red tape in the Northern Grampians Planning Scheme.
Officers will catalogue all of the regulatory requirements imposed on business and the community that may be redundant, superfluous, or unnecessarily burdensome, with the intention of advocating that those regulatory requirements be removed by the Minister.
Cr Tony Driscoll said he was delighted to see such a strong focus on economic development within all parts of the shire.
"This development certainly shows a lot of confidence from various people," he said.
"It is helping our shire to grow and is a good indication to everyone out there that the Northern Grampians Shire is open for business. This is demonstrated clearly by the figures we are being presented with."
The figures Cr Driscoll referred to were in relation to planning and building permit applications submitted within the Northern Grampians Shire. All figures showed a significant increase.
Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin, said he was delighted by the fact there was so much positive development taking place in the Northern Grampians Shire at present.
"These figures are very exciting," he said.
"There are two development proposals before us at the moment, both worth around $5 million. I am very excited particularly about the proposal for the recycling of the tyre dump in Stawell."
Stawell was identified earlier this year as having the world's largest tyre dump. The dump, behind the former Motorway Tyres factory on the Western Highway, has an estimated nine million tyres. If approved the project will recycle an estimated one million tyres a year.
The proposal to recycle the tyres has the potential to create employment for 30 to 40 people in Stawell.
It will also provide council with a way to reduce the number of tyres in a way that is safe. The tyres will be recycled and the components such as the oil, carbon, steel and gasses will be recovered during the process.
"I personally would like to congratulate the economic development department for all the hard work they have done to get more economic development to Stawell," Cr Erwin said.
Cr Erwin said the continued expansion of Frewstal was also vitally important, with the company being Stawell's largest employer.
"Frewstal is a great example of showing confidence in Stawell," he said.
"The abattoir continues to expand and continues to go from strength to strength."
Frewstal has applied for a $2-million expansion project for a new processing room, two store rooms, truck wash, kill floor, waste pit, an extension to the existingloading bay and an offal room.
Cr Erwin said it would be interesting to see how the abattoir progresses over the next few months as they seek to work their way into the Asian market.
"This certainly shapes as a great development for Stawell and I believe this will be a great year for economic development in our shire."