Hindmarsh, Buloke and Northern Grampians shires attended the Rural Summit

THREE Wimmera councils were represented at the Rural Councils Victoria’s three-day Rural Summit this week.

Representatives from the Hindmarsh, Buloke and Northern Grampians shires attended the summit from Wednesday.

The event ends tomorrow. 

The Rural Summit focused on the livability offering of rural and regional areas. It aimed to equip council staff, leaders and residents of rural communities with skills, information and capacity to respond to the ever-changing environments.

Northern Grampians Shire Council mayor Tony Driscoll said the summit was an opportunity to hear from high-profile speakers and engage with other councils to address challenges and issues faced by rural councils.

Cr Driscoll said a main concern in the Northern Grampians Shire was maintaining its population. He said the concern was a common trend throughout rural Victoria. He added that connectivity was a challenge that relates to the population problem. 

“We are trying to populate most of our councils, yet in Melbourne and larger centres they are going really well while we struggle to maintain ours,” he said.   

“The summit is a broad ranging discussion on how councils can continually move forward. We are able to discuss and share ideas from council-to-council. 

“The networking opportunities with councils and speakers is always a great benefit because we can share and use each others ideas to improve the way we operate.” 

Cr Driscoll said he was certain the shire will take away ideas that would benefit them.

Hindmarsh Shire Council mayor Ron Ismay said he was interested in hearing ideas about rural development.

“Rural development is important for our area. The state government needs to look at rural areas. We need more coming out to our areas beyond Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo” he said. 

Cr Ismay said the summit will offer new ideas that the shire could incorporate into its practices.