The Wimmera Southern Mallee region extends from the Grampians National Park to Lake Albacutya, near Rainbow, and from the South Australian border in the west to Navarre in the east. Horsham is the region’s largest urban centre.

Map of the Wimmera Southern Mallee region including five local government areas; Horsham, West Wimmera, Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack, and Northern Grampians.

The region includes five local government areas, they are:

  • Horsham
  • West Wimmera
  • Hindmarsh
  • Yarriambiack
  • Northern Grampians.

The region includes the traditional lands of the:

  • Wotjobaluk
  • Jaadwa
  • Jadawadjali
  • Wergaia
  • Jupagalk peoples
  • Dja Dja Warrung people
  • Taungurong people
  • Yorta Yorta people.

The region is home to over 50,000 Victorians. Dryland farming, including grain, is the basis of the region’s economy. Health services and manufacturing, located in Horsham, make up the next largest sectors of the region’s economy.

Five topics from the draft strategy that are relevant to Wimmera Southern Mallee are below. More details are in the topic links. Complete the survey and tell us what you think about the draft recommendations for regional Victoria and Wimmera Southern Mallee.

Draft recommendations

Expand the tabs below to read the draft recommendations for each topic.

Wimmera Southern Mallee residents have lower rates of internet connection, partly due to relatively poor digital infrastructure, low service quality and low levels of digital literacy among some groups.

This means many people cannot access online services (for example banking, job search, health and social services, and education). Unreliable internet connections can make it hard to do business. Unreliable internet also reduces public access to safety information in times of emergency.

There are opportunities to improve internet access and digital connections in Wimmera Southern Mallee, to continue to address coverage gaps and help communities remain connected. We can also improve internet access for those who don’t have it at home, by using the facilities and expertise in Wimmera Southern Mallee’s library network.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 80. Continue to address regional Victoria’s digital connectivity gaps (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

In the next five years, continue delivering regional digital connectivity improvements, and review the need for further government investment following the roll-out of the Digital Future Now initiative.

Draft recommendation 86. Improve resilience of regional telecommunications infrastructure (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

In the next 10 years, develop more resilient regional telecommunications infrastructure so communities can stay safe during emergencies, including greater network redundancy and back-up power supply.

Draft recommendation 87. Fund regional libraries to provide better internet access (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Immediately provide funding for regional and rural libraries to improve community access to fast, free internet services, leveraging existing library infrastructure.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

The Grampians National Park is a major asset for the region’s tourism industry.

Other attractions include:

  • the Silo Art Trail
  • the Wimmera River
  • agritourism events such as the Grampians Grape Escape.

Border closures and cancelled major events in response to the coronavirus pandemic have harmed the visitor economy. Yet, as restrictions start to ease, tourism has a role to play in the region’s economic recovery.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 82. Plan for future investment in regional nature-based tourism infrastructure (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

In the next five years, develop a Victorian nature-based tourism strategy to guide industry development and prioritise further investments.

Draft recommendation 83. Develop a Victorian Aboriginal tourism strategy (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Partner with Traditional Owners to develop a Victorian Aboriginal tourism strategy in the next five years to guide future Aboriginal tourism investments, including through Joint Management Plans.

Draft recommendation 84. Boost tourism infrastructure by allowing more national parks to grant long leases (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Attract investment in Victoria’s regional tourism industry by immediately allowing more national parks to grant leases of up to 49 years for infrastructure proposals that meet specific criteria and complement environmental and heritage values.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

Patients travel long distances to access healthcare services in rural and regional areas. This can contribute to poor health outcomes in some regional areas.

Healthcare services are increasingly being made available over the phone and online. This trend has accelerated over the last year, as more people in Wimmera Southern Mallee are accessing remote health care because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Patients now consult with General Practitioners (GPs), specialists and other health providers over the phone and online. Health professionals have used the internet to remotely diagnose and check patients’ health. Delivering more healthcare using technology can give patients more convenient, flexible and quality services

For those living in rural and remote areas, telehealth could provide greater access to quality care, specialists and allied services and reduce travel.

However, some services still need in-person contact as telehealth is not appropriate in all situations. Parts of the region have above average numbers of mental health clients, for example, as well as those receiving drug and alcohol treatment – particularly Northern Grampians and Horsham. But access to local support services is limited. Our recommendations aim collectively to improve access to health and allied support services for Wimmera Southern Mallee residents.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 21. Use innovation to deliver better models of healthcare (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Within five years, help slow the growth in demand for hospital infrastructure by funding a comprehensive statewide health innovation strategy to promote better models of healthcare.

Draft recommendation 72. Co-design an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Infrastructure Plan (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Immediately commence a co-design process to develop a plan to guide investment in Aboriginal community-controlled infrastructure to meet current and future social, economic and cultural needs.

Draft recommendation 75. Deliver infrastructure for a better mental health system (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Immediately establish a dedicated infrastructure fund to support a better mental health system, building on the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System.

Draft recommendation 88. Use rural schools for children’s specialist and allied telehealth services (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Retrofit or better use selected rural school infrastructure for children’s specialist and allied telehealth services to improve children’s health and development, following a trial in Wimmera Southern Mallee.

Draft recommendation 92. Build regional residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation facilities (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Within five years, build residential detoxification and rehabilitation facilities in Wimmera Southern Mallee to provide equitable access to alcohol and other drug treatment.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

Local governments deliver many social and community services to regional communities. These include:

  • child and family services
  • aged care
  • health care services, and
  • programs to foster social inclusion and improve wellbeing.

Some regional councils, such as West Wimmera, Hindmarsh and Yarriambiack shires, have small budgets due to small ratepayer populations. They also need to fund many services to communities spread over a large geographic area. Meanwhile regional cities have higher population growth, accompanied by growing demand for services.

Many council facilities were designed for a single purpose at a specific point in time. Others are ageing and no longer fit for purpose, limiting service quality, and councils face challenges in managing these facilities well. At the same time, community needs are changing and some facilities no longer meet local needs.

Councils are finding ways to provide facilities that can respond to contemporary needs. This includes building multipurpose service facilities, for example an integrated health and wellbeing building.

Another solution is to upgrade outdated facilities or give them a new use which matches current community needs.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 89. Deliver multipurpose shared social service facilities in the regions (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Immediately undertake collaborative inter-agency planning for regional social services to identify opportunities for multipurpose shared facilities, then deliver them where appropriate in partnership with local governments and community organisations.

Draft recommendation 90. Support regional councils to update, repurpose or retire outdated community infrastructure (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Fund rural and regional councils in the next five years to update, repurpose and retire outdated community infrastructure for better service delivery.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

Now more than ever, our state requires more homes for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Housing is relatively affordable in Wimmera Southern Mallee. Yet one in three in Horsham renters still experience rental stress. The region has high rates of family violence. The region has limited crisis housing for families escaping violence, with demand outstripping supply.

Social housing provides low-income Victorians secure, affordable and appropriate housing. Some of our most vulnerable community members are on social housing waiting lists. They are also experiencing financial stress.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 57. Rapidly renew old public housing (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Rapidly renew dilapidated public housing properties, with a priority to renew at least half of all older low-rise apartments and older three-bedroom detached dwellings by 2031.

Draft recommendation 94. Expand social housing in regional centres, in locations with good access (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Focus social housing investments in regional centres, near access to transport and services, to contribute to a target of 4.5 social housing dwellings for every 100 Victorian households by 2031.

Draft recommendation 95. Make social housing suitable for changing local climates (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Prioritising northern Victoria, continue to deliver a long-term program of modifying social housing to be climate-resilient by improving the energy efficiency and energy affordability of residences.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

Collection notice

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IV will use the information collected to inform Victoria’s Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy.

Your contact details, where provided, may also be used by IV to update you on the results of the engagement process.

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Other recommendations related to Wimmera Southern Mallee in the draft strategy:

Read the Wimmera Southern Mallee regional priorities summary for other recommendations related to the region.

Shared community facilities in action

Story from Shepparton: a football club also a leadership training hub

The Shepparton Rumbalara Football Netball Club has a long association with the Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-Operative. The club provides a leadership training hub for the local First Nations community, as well as netball training. It provides a range of training, education, health, leadership and social support programs.

Story from Murray: Old hospital turned into a health and wellbeing centre

The Walwa Bush Nursing Centre is in an isolated town on the upper Murray. The facility exists because of a community campaign following the closure of its eight-bed hospital. The facility was transformed with community fundraising and state government grants. The new health and wellbeing centre is a mix of health and community services. It now houses:

  • General Practitioners
  • district nursing
  • home care
  • emergency first response
  • outpatient clinic
  • pharmacy
  • gym
  • community centre
  • IT centre
  • banking services
  • RUM radio
  • community car
  • meals on wheels
  • health services
  • counselling services.

The centre is run by a community owned not-for-profit and has been successfully operating since 2006.