Employment, industry and business

Agriculture

The Wimmera Southern Mallee is a major agricultural and food producing region. The grains industry dominates the region and it produces much of Victoria’s grain crop, oilseeds and pulses as well as hay fodder. The region is also a significant producer of lamb and wool, and, in the southern farming areas, beef cattle. Other agricultural industries include intensive animal production such as feedlotting, pigs and poultry and horticultural enterprises such as grapes, olives and flowers. 

Supporting industries and services include agricultural research, agronomists, marketing, equipment and transport including:

  • The Birchip Cropping Group Inc (BCG) is a not-for-profit agricultural research and extension organisation led by farmers from the Wimmera and Mallee regions of Victoria. Based at Birchip, the organisation aims to improve the prosperity of farmers and agricultural communities through farmer-driven innovation, research and extension.
  • Longerenong College offers vocational education and training in agriculture and land management. Located 14 kilometres from Horsham, the 1070-hectare farm includes cropping, sheep (merino and prime lambs) and beef cattle enterprises.
  • Wimmera Catchment Management Authority works in partnership with the community, stakeholders, and partners to deliver a range of services to improve and enhance the condition of the region’s environment.
  • Agriculture Victoria's Grains Innovation Park in Horsham is a world-class research facility delivering science and innovation to the local, national and international grains industry. Research activities include new pulse variety breeding, crop agronomy, soil sciences and nutrient management, crop protection and biosecurity and the Australian Grains Genebank and Plant Phenomics Victoria facilities.
  • The Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange is an important part of the local economy and one of regional Victoria's main livestock selling centres. The livestock exchange is Victoria's fourth-largest sheep and lamb market and is the major livestock selling centre in the Wimmera, attracting vendors from as far afield as the South Australian border and southern New South Wales.

      Wimmera Development Association is working to support a sustainable agricultural industry with the adoption of leading-edge technology and adaption to climate variability. We also advocate for the development of local industry, facilities and educational opportunities. Local projects include:

      • The Longerenong DATA Farm is the farm of the future. The DATA Farm showcases the latest digital agriculture technologies, with financial support from the Victorian Government. It will promote and encourage farmers, students and industry to engage with digital agriculture to enhance on-farm decision making.
      • The Horsham SmartFarm, based at the Grains Innovation Park and a 600-hectare research farm, is using and demonstrating innovative, cutting-edge digital technology to increase the productivity, profitability and sustainability of grain growers.
      • In partnership with the Barenji Gadjin Land Council, WDA is working to develop Indigenous agriculture on a commercial scale.

      In 2020, WDA responded to the draft Australian Government National Agricultural Workforce Strategy. The Strategy confirms that Australian agriculture is a complex and sophisticated system. Its performance relies heavily on the quality of its people.

      WSM National Agricultural Workforce 2020 Submission (820kb PDF)

      Employment opportunities in the agriculture sector are both on-farm and in the large-scale operations that work directly with our farm businesses, such as grain marketing, transport and freight, fertiliser and chemical sales, machinery sales and many more.

      Opportunities in the health sector  include those in hospitals and practices services as well as aged care and support services. 

      However the Wimmera Southern Mallee also attracts high-quality financial, legal and other professional services that not only work with the agricultural sector, but with all aspects of our population.
      Major employers in the region are:

      • Health care, with many opportunities for nursing, doctors, dentists, allied health professionals, complementary health providers and other professional services required by any large organisation such as human resource management, accounting and legal.
      • Local government, where opportunities abound for town planners, engineers, human resource managers, contracts and legal professionals, community engagement and administration.
      • Financial services, with all of the large banks well-represented in the region, and a strong financial services sector that works with businesses from small and medium-sized through to multinationals.
      • Agribusiness, where, now that the drought has finished and production in increasing, there is an increasing range of roles for agronomists, sales representatives, administrators and logistics coordinators.

      Tourism opportunities and investment

      The Wimmera Southern Mallee is home to one of Victoria’s most visited national parks – The Grampians (Gariwerd), and the signature product strength of the region is nature-based tourism. However the region is also well-regarded for wine, Indigenous tourism, road cycling, arts, culture and heritage.

      WDA is actively exploring opportunities for further investment to improve facilities and the visitor experience. 

      Destination planning

      Local communities are working to support a vibrant tourism industry and enhancing the region’s economic diversity. The Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership (WSMRP), in consultation with the wider community, identified regional priorities as a result of Regional Assemblies in Horsham in October 2016 and August 2017. 

      The resulting Tourism Collaboration Plan provides a background analysis and tourism product and governance recommendations for the region. The Wimmera Southern Mallee Region includes two sub-regions: the Grampians and the Wimmera Mallee.

      2019 Wimmera Southern Mallee Tourism Collaboration Plan (4Mb PDF)

      The Destination Management Plan focuses on the Buloke, Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh and West Wimmera shires. While the Destination Management Plan identified potential projects for the Grampians region, which includes the Horsham and Northern Grampians shires, these will be refined through the development of a Destination Management Plan for Grampians Tourism in the near future.

      The plan highlights the Wimmera Southern Mallee region's vast and diverse landscapes and nature-based experiences as well as arts, culture and heritage such as the world’s largest 'Outdoor Art Gallery' - The Silo Art Trail.

      2019 Wimmera Mallee Destination Management Plan (5Mb PDF) 

      Grampians Region Cycling Masterplan

      The cycling masterplan aims to establish the Grampians region as a premier tourism destination for road, mountain and recreational cycling. The plan identified opportunities to develop new infrastructure and attract events and the quantifies the potential benefits to the region. 

      Indigenous Tourism

      The region has a strong and proud Indigenous culture. In December 2005, native title was determined to exist for the first time in Victoria for the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk peoples of the Wimmera. There are hundreds of Aboriginal cultural heritage sites in the region and many opportunities to better showcase Indigenous culture and contributions. 

      The Indigenous Tourism Feasibility Study explores the potential to develop Indigenous tourism enterprise activities for Wotjobaluk Country, as represented by Barengi Gadjin Land Council (BGLC)

      2017 Wimmera and Grampians Indigenous Tourism Feasibility Study (3Mb PDF)

      Employment 

      Job Advocates

      Jobs Victoria offers support to jobseekers in their communities. Job Advocates, based in the Wimmera Southern Mallee and across the state, will assist people who need help with finding work, or who are struggling with the impact of unemployment, to find the information, advice and additional support they need.

      Employment agencies

      Employment agencies can help you to find work, and may also help to provide training to upgrade your skills, or learn a new skill. You can make an appointment to see a recruitment consultant or check the job listings on their websites. Positions may also be advertised in local newspapers or via national website recruitment websites.

      Specialist disability employment services are also available.

      • AXIS Employment provides high-quality Disability Employment Services. There are offices in Horsham 03 5381 1622 and Stawell 03 5381 1622
      • WDEA Works is a community focused, not-for-profit organisation offering Disability Employment Services (DES), job active programs, training (RTO), Social Enterprises, NDIS programs and activities. There are offices in Horsham 03 5382 6100 and Stawell 03 5358 2799.

      Business

      The region offers a supportive and affordable environment for new and established businesses. Many local businesses service a range of local, national and international customers.

      Benefits of starting a business in the Wimmera and Southern Mallee include: 

      • A supportive environment to start a new business; 
      • Affordable business premises; 
      • Local business support services and programs; 
      • A willing workforce; 
      • A range of training and development options for staff; 
      • Direct transport links to major cities; and
      • Strong support from the local community.

      Business Victoria is a comprehensive online resource offering information and workshops designed to help you start, run and grow a business.

      Wimmera Business Centre

      The Wimmera Business Centre is a Small Business Incubator and offers tenancy to start-up and home-based businesses, as well as offering business advice, services and assistance to small and micro businesses.

      Based in Horsham the centre was established to assist new businesses to grow their market and client base. It provides a nurturing environment with reduced rental, subsidised utility costs and mentoring services.

      Contact the centre on 03 5381 0300 or info@wimmerabusinesscentre.com.au 

      Local business support networks

      More information about local business is available through local councils and support networks. 

      Hindmarsh Shire 

      Horsham Rural City 

      Northern Grampians Shire

      Yarriambiack Shire 

      West Wimmera Shire 

      Leadership Wimmera 

      The Wimmera Development Association's Leadership Wimmera program aims to build the leadership capacity in local communities. As well as building the capacity of skills of participants the program provides an excellent networking opportunity. 

      The program promotes opportunities to enhance and develop your leadership skills and promote leadership in the region.

      For more information on any of these programs contact Jessica Grimble on 0429 811 744 or jgrimble@wda.org.au