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How the Great South Coast Influences the World


It was amazing to learn how our little nook – the great south coast – makes a significant impact on the world economy. From wool to milk, wood to manufacturing, the region excels, despite lacking the infrastructure and population growth seen in the capital and regional cities.

Sarah Brebner, the manager of regional economic policy at Regional Development Victoria, explained the trends and events that shaped the global economy and how it influences life at a regional, state and federal level. It was interesting to learn how globalisation and the rise of the Asian middle class can affect business at a local level. Some believe the Chinese middle class could grow to 550 million by 2022, meaning a lot of people can travel to Australia and inject money into the economy. However, how we capitalise on that influx is still unknown.

It is believed that technology could contribute around $140-$250 billion to the GDP, but a lack of infrastructure and investment means the Great South Coast could miss on a slice of the pie. We learned that digital connectivity is integral to regional growth, and Western Victoria ranks lower than Regional Victoria.

Not surprisingly, Great South Coast is also seeing an uneven distribution of population growth. Fortunately, our aging population could prop up the population growth in the short time, given that the amount of 80-year-olds and above will triple by 2050. With an aging population, the economy is moving to a service focus, with healthcare, construction and manufacturing earmarked for growth, and in the past five years, the Great South Coast added more jobs than the statewide trend.

Food production will need to increase globally by 60% by 2030, so our food and fibre businesses will see a significant boom in the next decade. With labour market challenges, such as new technologies, and increase in globalisation and a demographic change, industries and cities will need to evolve or fall behind in the global economic battle.

Fortunately, our diary industry is showing plenty of fortitude when it comes to global pressure. Dairy Australia senior industry analyst John Droppert didn’t bring any milk to share, but he did show us some cold, hard facts.
More than two billion litres of milk is produces in western Victoria, worth $192 billion. Global trends, climate changes and the Japanese’s love of cheese on their pizza all influence the exportation of milk products, giving dairy producers plenty to think about. Locally, artesian products and the elimination of the dollar-milk market are stabilising markets domestically.

The learning left the classroom in the afternoon to take in a tour of Solaris Farms in Allansford, thanks to farm manager Brendan Rea and Rowan Ault, a field service manager at Saputo. What better way to learn than from a fifth-generation dairy producer? Brendan took the participants through the dairy to see how an 800-head farm produces milk on a large scale. Despite the cold weather, there were plenty of smiles on display thanks to the hands-on learning experience.

Ben Fraser – 2019 LGSC Participant

Thank you to our Speakers, Sarah Brebner, John Droppert, Lauren Peterson, Brendan Rae and Rowan Ault


The Silent Struggles


It is difficult to know where to begin and virtually impossible to fit everything in, the common theme that resonated on our Building an Inclusive Community Program Day was the silent struggles that each of our presenters face. It can be so easy to put on your game face and show up, but to reveal what is hidden beneath the surface takes true strength.

Alma Besserdin’s self – awareness and emotional intelligence was very apparent, every example she gave highlighted the importance of understanding your own behaviour and how other might perceive you.
Alma has learnt something from every uncomfortable interaction. If we do not put ourselves forward and make ourselves accountable, why should we expect others to?

The bravery and vulnerability shown by our afternoon speakers saw a few watery eyes around the room. Ishmael Musiliza’s raw and open account of what is was like to flee Congo with his older brother and finally land safely in Australia was captivating, he did not ask for pity. It was humbling to see just how grateful Ishmael is to be here in the Western Districts and how appreciative he is of the things that most take for granted. His positivity and enthusiasm for life is infectious.

Jason Smith was equally as vulnerable and his story took a direction no one saw coming. Breaking the ice by talking about his own leadership journey and winning Young Farmer of the Year led into the challenges of coming out as gay in the agricultural community. He is a vibrant and energetic young farmer and despite being very busy with his business Jason takes time to help others battle the stigma associated with being LGBTI and working in agriculture. Ongoing seasonal challenges and unpredictable markets are challenging in themselves; the agricultural community should lead by example and support each other irrelevant of race, gender or sexual orientation.

The day was full of emotion and certainly opened up my eyes to the importance of remaining inquisitive and welcoming; everybody is fighting a battle we know nothing about, we are all the same in different ways.

Kelly Barnes, 2019 Program Partcipant

Thank you to our Speakers Alma Besserdin; Ishmael Musiliza; Jason Smith and Carly Jordan


2019 Community Projects Announced


Four community projects will be delivered this year by the LGSC 2019 participants, the projects will provide support to a variety of groups in our South West community.

Creating intergenerational connection Cycling Without Age aims to facilitate social interaction. The goal is acquisition of a special bike to carry up to two passengers to transport the elderly in order to tackle isolation issues and improving their health and well-being via regular outdoor experiences.

Aiming to improve mental health and social inclusion the Veterans Retreat is a weekend of activities for veterans where they can interact and learn what the Great South Coast region has to offer and how they can engage in community.

EATS Great South Coast will scope support needed to showcase the regions produce increasing tourism.

Finally empowering community to go solar and generate annual income to keep community projects happening, Community Owned Solar will create the opportunity for community groups and building owners to work together to promote solar and community projects in the region.

A busy year ahead for the participants of the 2019 LGSC program, the journey has just started. Keep an eye on our Projects page for more updates about our evolving projects.


Juan Donis, 2019 Program Participant 03/04/19


Practical Project Management


Envisage an overcast and damp Port Fairy, beyond our window the Port Fairy Folk Festival infrastructure is being dismantled!

This apt scene got me thinking about the project management skills required to run a four day event, involving hundreds of acts, thousands of visitors and volunteers.

Kevin Bennett from KB Business Solutions defined a project as “A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a product or service”.

Kevin then launched into a fast paced day covered the key phases of project management – initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and closing and the importance of reflecting, analysing and evaluating each new piece of information.

A range of tools, methods and tips were provided throughout the day including the 80/20 rule, work structure breakdown, responsibility matrix’s, critical paths, risk management etc. By the end of the day we had covered five project management processes, seven tools, three behaviours and thirteen concepts!

As the project management day unfolded we gained new skills and importantly it allowed the participants the opportunity to interact with one another and helped us to analyse our own strengths and weaknesses, and each teams unique dynamics and the varying leadership roles

Jason Cay, 2019 Program Particpant 19/03/19

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