Economic development the key to regional recovery – Marysville

Successful economic development and recovery poses significant challenges to the recovery of regions after disasters or economic stagnation, according to experts who addressed the 2017 Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program group on Friday 21 April, 2017.

The group was addressed by a range of experts including Bob Elkington, Economic Development Manager at Shire of Murrindindi, Mike Dalmau from Murrindindi Inc, and Allison Fitzgerald, Executive Officer, Warburton Business Centres and Yarra Ranges Enterprise Centres.

In an era of increasingly tightened funding opportunities, all speakers agreed that long-term recovery depended on sustainable business models, which in turn required community ‘buy-in’ and commitment for success.

However, when communities are suffering the trauma of disaster or the ongoing effects of economic slowdown, it takes time and consistent effort to help communities feel empowered to lead their own changes.

In addition, unforeseen changes can derail positive changes, such as that facing Warburton’s Yarra Ranges Enterprise Centre (YREC), a social enterprise supporting the growth and development of micro and small businesses in the area.

YREC was established to combat unemployment in the Warburton area by enabling micro and small business owners to secure a professional workspace and take advantage of coaching and networking opportunities.

Unfortunately, the future of the YREC is now uncertain, as the venue they are currently using is being sold, and the centre does not have sufficient funding to purchase it from the State Government.

With regional development on the Federal Government’s agenda, the timing seems ironic but the consequences will be serious for the current tenants in the YREC, who may lose their business space and support, and consequently have significant impacts to their local businesses. The knock-on effects for the local economy are not clear at this stage.

“It’s a shame that all the work we have done to support these local businesses and reduce unemployment in this region will be so negatively impacted if we lose our venue,” says Allison Fitzgerald. “We’re working very hard with local and state government stakeholders to find a solution, but we keep having doors closed in our face.”

To assist with saving the YREC, please sign your name on the petition below and encourage others to save this vital local initiative:

https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/save-yrec-business-incubator

For more information about YREC, visit their website: http://www.yrec.com.au/

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