Wimmera's Regional Victoria Living Expo promotion

WIMMERA councils used ambassadors at the Regional Victoria Living Expo at the weekend to promote the benefits of living and working in the region.

Buloke Shire Council ambassador Rose Harris is a journalist at the Buloke Times.

She moved to Donald in 2009 with her young family.

Her husband left his job as an accountant in Melbourne to become a mature-age apprentice butcher in Birchip.

Mrs Harris has been an ambassador at the expo for the past three years.

“I just love going down to Melbourne and telling people it can be done,” she said. 

“I’m not paid, I’m just somebody who has done it and as much as all our council staff love it – people might wonder about a vested interest.

“It makes a big difference when you’re talking to someone who has done it.”

Mrs Harris said the expo was a fantastic event and implored governments to ensure its future.

“To drive half an hour through the beautiful Wimmera scenery is very different from driving in the hills of Camberwell,” she said.

“We really don’t think we will be shifting anywhere – the community has really taken us on board.”

She said the potential ‘tree changers’ she spoke with at the expo were split between people with young families and retirees who could both take advantage of low property prices.

“We now own two houses,” Mrs Harris said.

“We spend more family time together because we aren’t stuck in traffic and if you’re lonely you’ll always find a group to join.”

“We spend more family time together because we aren’t stuck in traffic and if you’re lonely you’ll always find a group to join.” - Buloke Shire Council ambassador Rose Harris

Wimmera Uniting Care chief executive Barry Elvish attended the expo for the first time.

He said the agency had four employees who had moved after attending the expo in previous years.

“The numbers were good and there was genuine interest from a lot of people with young families,” Mr Elvish said.

“I’d be very surprised if we don’t get more employees out of this year. 

“There were a number of people looking for sponsorship and migration to Victoria and they were matched by people who were looking for a tree change.”

Wimmera Development Association executive director Jo Bourke said more than 100 people had registered their interest in businesses for sale and positions vacant.

“We were impressed with the specific nature of the questions at the expo,” she said.

“People had obviously done previous research.

“Interestingly I had a couple of people speak to me about investment in housing who were looking at investment in smaller regional communities, for example one lady was looking at investment properties in Nhill, Dimboola and Murtoa.”

More than 10,000 people attended the expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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