HINDMARSH Shire Council has called on the community to support the Rural Councils Victoria Rural Summit.
The shire is hosting the annual event this year, which draws leaders from the state’s 38 rural municipalities.
Council chief executive Tony Doyle said about 12 families had offered to lodge visitors.
“But we do need a lot more,” he said.
The event steering committee expects up to 170 delegates to attend the two-day event, on March 27 and 28.
Most of the program will be based at Nhill, although pre-conference entertainment will be at Dimboola.
“We would like to be able to billet up to 40 people,” Mr Doyle said.
“About half a dozen of our delegates have expressed a desire to stay with a family, rather than at a hotel or motel.
“But we would expect that to increase; bookings are only ramping up at this stage.”
Event organisers are aiming to finalise billeting arrangements by the end of February.
If too few places are offered, Mr Doyle said delegates would have to stay in towns further from the event.
“That would be difficult, from a logistical perspective,” he said.
As a last resort, the committee could limit the number of people able to attend.
“But we are confident our community will get right behind this event,” Mr Doyle said.
“People really just need a bedroom their guests can use.
“They would also provide their guests breakfast in the morning.”
In exchange, delegates will pay their host families $50 a night.
“Most of the families who have offered to billet so far have elected to donate that money to a community group,” Mr Doyle said.
Rural Councils Victoria chairman and Hindmarsh Mayor Rob Gersch said his shire was delighted to host the event.
It aims to inspire rural communities to create a thriving future.
Speakers include economist Saul Eslake, Mildura chef Stefano De Pieri and former Wimmera man Frank Delahunty.
“As well as highlighting innovative approaches to the challenges rural councils face, the summit itself has an economic development impact from bringing all these people together for two days,” Cr Gersch said.
He encouraged delegates to start booking their tickets and accommodation.
Tickets are $225 a person.