Northern Grampians Shire Council is excited by the prospect that it could be sitting on development potential worth one billion dollars.
Councillors were presented with the winter economic report card at their latest meeting and while the report did have a strong focus on tourism, the significance of the potential future development across the region had councillors excited. The report showed development potential to be in the vicinity of $990 million.
Robert Newbury, Team Leader Planning and Development Services, said economic growth remained a top priority within the Business Services and Tourism department and the Planning and Development Services department, with both teams focused on supporting business and development within the shire.
Mr Newbury said council's partnerships team was currently working with a number of private investors for projects at various stages of maturity.
These include the Stawell Gold Mine Future Possibilities Project, Stawell West Industrial Precinct Planning Project, Stawell Residential Development Project, Halls Gap Tourist Resort Town Project Master Plan, St Arnaud Civic Precinct Development, Lord Nelson Park Precinct and Great Western Future Plan.
Cr Karen Hyslop said it was clear from the report, that the shire was heading in the right direction.
"I see this as quite an exciting report," Cr Hyslop said.
"What's so important to me, is to see that council's teams are working with a number of private investors to attract new investment into our shire.
"There would not be many other shires around who could say they have this amount of potential investment on their books."
Cr Hyslop also noted that the report showed how important tourism was to the Northern Grampians Shire.
"Tourism generates 472 jobs in our shire, which is 10% of our total employment," she said.
"As the fifth largest employment sector, tourism generates more than $78m in revenue and is well positioned to build on opportunities to develop tourism in the region."
Cr Tony Driscoll agreed and said the importance of such things as the Grampians Peaks Trail, Stawell Gift and Grampians Grape Escape, cannot be underestimated.
"This report certainly highlights the benefits of tourism. When you are talking about $78 million, it's a massive amount of money," he said.
"The Stawell Gift, Grape Escape and Grampians Peaks Trail are all major contributors to this and I'm glad that tourism growth is a high priority for our Business and Tourism department.
"Looking further, with $1 billion in potential development in our shire, I think it is a magnificent effort for our department.
"It clearly shows that Northern Grampians Shire is open for business. I keep saying that and I will keep repeating it."
Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin, said to have such development potential totalling $1 billion was a great reflection on the Northern Grampians Shire.
"It reflects really well on our shire to have that $1 billion in potential development on our books," he said.
"Also, when you look at the Gross Regional Product as at April 2014, the Northern Grampians Shire stands at $662 million and per worker, the GRP is $139,303.
"This is only just short of the state average of $139,346 per worker.
"We know too well the wealth of the Stawell Gift and will work very hard to make sure that it continues to be run in Stawell and runs well.
"With that and the Grape Escape, they are bringing in fantastic economic benefit to our shire."