March 2017 
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Do you operate a business in the West Wimmera Shire? What do you think about the level of business support you are currently receiving? Do you want to keep informed of upcoming business workshops, events and grants?


Your Council is seeking input from the local business community through the West Wimmera Shire Council Local Business Survey. The survey is designed to assess the needs and trends of businesses throughout the municipality.


Whether your business is located at home, online, in an industrial area or in the main street, Council’s Economic Development Department wants to hear from you.


 The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.


All local business owners are encouraged to participate in the survey to better direct the kind of support they need to empower and grow their businesses and improve the local economy.

The West Wimmera Shire Council Business Survey will be available until Friday 31st March 2017.  


Further details contact Mark Fletcher | Economic and Business Development | 0437 816 505 |

Penalty Rate Changes

With the recent announcement of changes to Sunday penalty rates, make sure that you understand what the changes mean to your business.

The Fair Work Commission on Thursday morning announced Sunday penalty rates paid in retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy industries will be reduced from the existing levels, which, in some cases, are as much as "double time". Most of the pay cuts take effect from July, and some will be phased in over time.

Full-time and part-time workers in retail will have their Sunday penalty rates dropped from 200 per cent to 150 per cent of their standard hourly rate, while casuals will go from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

Hospitality employees will face a reduction in Sunday pay from 175 per cent to 150 per cent, while casual hospitality workers' pay will remain unchanged.

However, the changes do not extend to restaurants and cafes as industry representatives did not provide enough evidence to convince the workplace umpire of their case. However, restaurant employer groups have the opportunity to try to mount another case.

For a summary of the decision click HERE.

West Wimmera Womens on Farms Gathering

West Wimmera Shire looks forward to continuing the tradition of honoring and celebrating the important role women play in agriculture and our rural communities, both in the past and into the future, when we host the 28th Annual Women on Farms Gathering (WOFG) from on the weekend of 24-26 March 2017 in Harrow.

The Women on Farms Gathering is an annual event that circulates around Victoria with a new town as a venue every year. The event supports rural communities and rural women and their families. Women or couples interested in rural life and agriculture from around Victoria, nationally and sometimes internationally often attend. Each Gathering is linked by a tradition of sharing memories, symbolic icons, women's stories, workshops, good food and fun.


Measuring the Social and Economic Value of Recreational Water in the Wimmera Southern Mallee

Wimmera Development Association (WDA) in conjunction with project partners, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, West Wimmera Shire, Hindmarsh Shire, Yarriambiack Shire, Horsham Rural City, Northern Grampians Shire, Buloke Shire, and GWM Water is about to undertake a Socio-economic Study into the value of recreational and environmental water to the Wimmera Southern Mallee.

The project will undertake surveys and collect data from across the region at locations where individuals and groups enjoy our lakes, rivers and weir-pools for recreational activity. 

This project will involve a cooperative effort with local government and local community groups to catalogue the various benefits recreational and environmental water in rivers, pools and lakes provide to towns in the region and try and quantify them in terms of social and economic benefits. Various camp grounds adjoin lakes and attract campers and fishers from both within and outside the region.

One of the aims of the project is to establish a base line data set and consistent measurement methods that will allow for a longitudinal study to identify seasonal patterns in coming years. Once collected and analysed, the information will provide a better understanding of the economic impact of environmental and recreational water and also the social benefits that these resources provide to the community.

As a region, we need to understand and measure these values so that planning for future tourism, recreational and infrastructure facilities can be identified.  Project outputs will also help to demonstrate the local and regional impacts to both State and Commonwealth Governments in order to attract support and funding for further development of infrastructure and services associated with recreational water.

Street Ryan Pty Ltd has been appointed as project consultant and work has commenced to develop a series of questionnaires that will be shared with local Committees of Management sporting clubs and others likely to have an involvement in recreational water activity.  The majority of the funding for the project has been made available by the Victorian Government via the Wimmera CMA. 

For more information and to complete the survey visit the WDA website or contact Mark Fletcher (03) 5381 6505

Managing Farm Risk Program
The Managing Farm Risk Program provides rebates for advice and assessments to help farmers prepare and apply for a new insurance policy that assists with the management of drought and other production and markets risks.

These one off rebates will be for half of the costs incurred by eligible farm businesses up to a maximum of $2,500 (GST exclusive).  The rebates are not for insurance policy premiums.

Insurance can significantly reduce the financial risks farmers face from production loss caused by factors beyond their control.  The Australia Government understand that insurance for risks – like adverse weather, drought and fluctuating markets – can protect profits and give farmers peace of mind.  But identifying and choosing suitable insurance can be challenging.  More…  

Free Business Webinars 

View a range of fantastic webinars from the 2016 Small Business Festival.

Webinars from Her Business, Smart Company, Flying Solo and many more to help you get started, work smarter and take your business to the next level.


Watch Here

Available Government Grants

Wondering if there is funding or assistance that could help you grow your business?


There are lots of government grants and support available, and the Victorian Chamber is running briefings to help find what’s on offer.

Attend a Government Grant briefing

Energy Assessment Grants open now

Small and medium sized Victorian businesses are invited to apply for funding to carry out an energy assessment under the new SV Business - Boosting Productivity program.

There are two grants under the $3 million Victorian Government program to help small and medium sized businesses to improve energy efficiency, save money and increase productivity.

Energy Assessment Grants
Businesses with less than 200 employees, spending more than $20,000 per annum on energy bills, can cut energy costs and increase productivity with the help of an energy assessment, access expert advice and find out about options for financing energy efficiency upgrades.

The grants are offered at two funding levels - up to $2,000 for a basic energy assessment and up to $6,000 for a detailed energy assessment on a matched funding ($1:$1) basis. Successful applicants can also access a maximum $3,000 bonus to help implement one or more of their energy efficiency assessment recommendations.

Applications for small to medium sized business energy assessment grants are open now.

Industry Capability Grants
Grants of up to $150,000 will be available for industry associations and business networks to strengthen and build business capabilities in energy efficiency.

For further information and to apply visit the Energy Assessments Grants webpage on the Sustainability Victoria website.

2017 Small Business Festival

The Wimmera Southern Mallee will become a Regional Partner 
for the 2017 Small Business Festival to be held in August.

Planning has commenced to design program of workshops and events during the month of August in various locations across the Wimmera Southern Mallee.

The program will be promoted through the Wimmera Southern Mallee Councils and coordinated by the Wimmera Business Centre.  Workshops will cover a range of business topics, from finance and marketing to customer service and will vary across the region. 

To host an event, suggest a topic or find out more, contact Rachel Hateley at the Wimmera Business Centre on (03) 5381 0300

Life just got a little easier for farmers who use agricultural chemicals.

If you need to apply for an agricultural chemical user permit, or renew your old ACUP, you can now do it online. You can also use the website to add to an existing ACUP. Go to to complete your online application. And if you'd rather stick to paper, hard copy forms can be downloaded from

Centre for Participation Awards

The awards celebrate the role volunteers play across the region and brings together individuals and organisations in acknowledging outstanding achievements. This is a great opportunity to recognise the remarkable efforts of volunteers, volunteer programs and volunteer involving organisations that make our communities vibrant.

Nominations are invited from shires of Horsham Rural City, Hindmarsh Shire, Northern Grampians Shire, West Wimmera Shire and Yarriambiack Shire

The Volunteering Recognition Awards with Bendigo Bank will be held at the Horsham Town Hall on Friday 12 May 2017.

To download the nomination forms please click here


Starting a business? Questions about your existing business? Looking for meeting room facilities? The Wimmera Business Centre can help!

Wimmera Business Centre is a Small Business Incubator based at 62 Darlot Street, Horsham.  The Centre offers Incubator tenants are small businesses that have just commenced operation or who have moved from a home based environment and are ready to take the next step.  Incubator tenants are small businesses that have just commenced operation or who have moved from a home based environment and are ready to take the next step.

The Wimmera Business Centre provides a nurturing environment in which business can establish itself with a financial buffer provided through reduced rental (below market rates), subsidised utility costs and mentoring services. Wimmera Business Centre was established to assist businesses in their establishment phase and grow their market and client base. home based businesses, startup and established businesses advice and services to small and micro businesses. A wide range of workshops are offered to businesses through the assistance of Small Business Victoria.

Wimmera Business Centre was established to assist businesses in their establishment phase and grow their market and client base.

For more information, contact
Rachel Hateley at the Wimmera Business Centre on (03) 5381 0300

Have a squiz at some more biz...
Building Resilience in Farming E-newsletter

The Building Resilience in Farming electronic newsletter is compiled and published by the Wimmera Development Association.

The newsletters is a comprehensive collection of events, news and up-to-date information on what is happening around the region. 

The newsletter is free and anyone can sign up to receive it.

Visit the WDA website to subscribe to the monthly update.

Australian Taxation Office Webinars

Webinars are interactive online seminars, presented by experienced tax officers to help you learn more about your tax and super responsibilities.

They are an efficient way of gaining valuable information to assist you in your business.

The ATO provide a range of different topics, relevant to managing your business.

Visit The ATO website to find out more and to register for a webinar.
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