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C H A I R ’ S R E P O RT While the past year has been one marked by challenges and frustration with the delayed development of our digital platform, it has also been one that has achieved an increase in skills based Directors and cutting edge industry workshops. We achieved “lift off� of both our new website and logo at our annual dinner. It is pleasing that our region, the Heart of Victoria can now compete in the digital marketplace and every business can be readily identified as being an integral part of our region. Our annual dinner was a sell out with overwhelming feedback about the great opportunity for industry networking. For the first time, we are now equipped with the means to promote our region to a wider audience and to highlight specific events and experiences to all market segments. This resource now enables us with the opportunity to partner with a diversity of attractions and experiences from other regions to further assist growth in visitor numbers.

Our digital platform is now an important asset for the region and I encourage all businesses, large and small to increase usage of it. It is vital that industry supports our website to ensure that they are represented by up to date information in order to be competitive in a crowded marketplace. For us as a region to continue to grow and be competitive however, we need to not only highlight what makes the Heart of Victoria a great place to visit, but we need to develop new product and experiences. Our industry workshops have assisted in ensuring our industry has access to the latest information and innovative ways of product presentation. We were proud for our region to be chosen as destinations for

C H A I R ’ S R E P O RT international “famils” and to host the Victorian Visitor Information Centre Summit. There is no doubt that as a region still unrecognised as a designated tourist region by the State Government, we “punch well above our weight”. Our biggest challenge still remains the lack of funding in recognition as a Regional Tourism Board. I would like to acknowledge and thank our four member Councils, Strathbogie, Mitchell, Murrindindi and City of Greater Shepparton for their strong support of us and their financial commitment at a time when funding is under stress. It is greatly appreciated by industry across our region. However, the reality is that without commensurate funding that the other tourist regions receive, it is extremely difficult for us to provide the marketing, presentation and training provided by other regions Our achievements throughout the year have resulted from the dedication and willingness to always provide service while operating within budget constraints by our Executive Officer, one assistant and an intern

for a short period of time, all on a part-time basis. The appointment of our skills based Directors has added greater depth of experience and contacts, particularly in marketing. I thank all our Directors for their important contribution. Their skills and commitment provide leadership for our region. It has been an honour to serve as Chair on the Goulburn River Valley Tourism Board and to be involved with developing the composition and the role of the Board, and the Strategic Plan backed by a rigorous Business Plan to better represent the Heart of Victoria region.

Hon Fran Bailey

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EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT If there is a mantra to come out of 2015-2016 it would be to not to waste your focus on things you cannot control. With the unexpected demise of the developer of our new consumer website, life at Goulburn River Valley Tourism was turned a little on its head this past year. From that I learnt a number of valuable lessons – no matter how well you do your due diligence, sometimes things just don’t work out how you hoped; it’s not what has happened but how you deal with it that counts; and the sun will continue to shine. Proudly our new consumer site went live in early July after its soft-launch at our successful annual ‘Heart of Victoria’ Tourism Dinner. At the opposite end of the scale, the development of our new consumer brand for the ‘Heart of Victoria’ could not have been smoother. We thank the team at best. design to life for their great work in this space. We encourage all of our stakeholders to embrace the logo and work with us to further promote the ‘Heart of Victoria’.

The digital space while it is extremely important was only part of our work during the year. For the first time we saw the inclusion of the Goulburn River Valley as a stand-alone region in an external publication – Cultural Tourism Victoria’s Experience Culture Guide and are set to repeat this in the 2016-2017 edition. Our popular Holiday Planner continues to move in the market place and plans are well underway for a revamped fourth edition early in 2017. We hosted a number a number of successful industry workshops and events, from smaller webinars on the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse to the signature events on Tourism Yield. We kept up an active social media presence to industry and consumers and advocated for many of our priorities in line with the Destination Management Plan. We relocated from Shepparton to Euroa. We record our thanks to Greater Shepparton City Council for hosting us at the Shepparton Business Centre and thank the Shire of Strathbogie for providing us with a new base.

We welcomed Georgia Odgers to our team. The first placement in Victoria under the Victorian Chamber’s Intern Program, Georgia was such as asset our team her initial eight week placement turned into four months with us. We proudly watch as Georgia forges ahead with her career after gaining valuable experience and giving us so back so much more. Finally a few thanks from me. To Caolan O’Connor our Tourism Officer – for consistently going over and above what any of us has right to expect. To the Board for their support and commitment. The existing and new Directors have melded into a strong and committed team and I value their time and guidance. In particular I acknowledge our Chair, the Hon Fran Bailey who is stepping down in early 2017 and leaving Goulburn River Valley Tourism in a strong position. Our Member Councils – Greater Shepparton, Mitchell, Murrindindi & Strathbogie for their continued recognition of the value of the visitor economy. On behalf of all

stakeholders we thank them for their funding of Goulburn River Valley Tourism. Finally to your, our industry members, you are the part that makes the role so enjoyable. To be inspired by your stories, invigorated by your enthusiasm and surrounded by your passion -the biggest of thanks. It has been my pleasure to work with you.

Wendy Jones Executive Officer

F I N A N C I A L The Financial Report for the Year Ended 30 June 2016 shows Goulburn River Valley Tourism to have a made a loss of $54,407 against a surplus of $69,571 in 2015. As with last year, care must be taken when interpreting the results of such a turn-around. A grant from Regional Development Victoria for the Digital Project was expensed in the 2016 year, after being recorded as income in the 2015 year. When taking this into consideration, under expenditure on other line items to negate the impact and the additional funds required from our retained surplus to complete the project due to the demise of the original developer, the result is in line with revised budget expectations set by the Board. Total equity of $102,800 (against $157,208 in 2015) is still healthy going forward when taking into consideration projected income and the forecast of a balanced budget in Year Ending 2017.

Importantly it meets and indeed exceeds the Operating Surplus, set by Policy in June 2016 in line with the Board’s appetite for risk. This provides Goulburn River Valley Tourism with some degree of short-term operating certainty in emergencies in the event of significant, unbudgeted increases in operating expenses and/or unanticipated losses in operating revenue. It also provides the ability to participate in, and capitalise on, unexpected opportunities that may arise during the course of the year in line with Board priorities. The Financial Report for the Year Ended 30 June 2016 can be downloaded from: annual-reports


2 0 1 5 - 2 0 1 6 HIGHLIGHTS The year has been a busy one for Goulburn River Valley Tourism. Just some of the many activities we have been involved in are highlighted below:


Industry Development

Engagement & Co-operation

- Launched consumer platform

- Conducted workshop on tourism yield with Michele Levine CEO Roy Morgan Research

- Industry Newsletter sent out monthly to over 700 stakeholders

- Launched ‘Heart of Victoria’ Branding

- Training on digital presence and activating the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse delivered

- Hosted 3rd Annual Heart of Victoria Tourism Dinner

- Three first time entrants mentored for the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards achieved gold, bronze and finalist status

- Secured bid to host Victorian Visitor Information Centre Summit in August 2016

- Exhibited at Melbourne Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow - Gained inclusion as a stand-alone region in Cultural Tourism Victoria’s ‘Experience Culture’ Guide

- Over 110 volunteers and staff attended the Visitor Information Centre Summit.

2 0 1 5 - 2 0 1 6 HIGHLIGHTS Advocacy - Worked with Regional Development Victoria to develop tourism pipeline project priorities for the region - Hosted Board dinner with the Minister for Tourism & Major Events - Hon John Eren - Advocated on numerous issues such as public Revenue Generation transport, regional black spots & bandwidth and product development such as the new SAM, - Funded to place the 1st Intern in Victoria under Army Tank Museum, Seymour Railway Heritage the Victorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry Centre and Kinglake Ranges Wilderness Camp Program - Active member of the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) Destination Policy Committee

- Funded to conduct mentoring for the Victorian Tourism Awards

Governance - Achieved 100% adherence to financial and legal responsibilities of the Company. - Increased industry representation on the Board with the appointment of three new independent skills based directors.


OUR TEAM The small team at Goulburn River Valley Tourism was strengthened by the addition of Georgia Odgers. Georgia was the first intern placed in Victoria under the Victorian Chamber Internship Program. We also said farewell to Sarah Casey who celebrated the birth of her second child. Wendy Jones Executive Officer July 2013 to Current Caolan O’Connor Tourism Officer February 2014 to Current Sarah Casey Tourism Officer May 2015 to October 2015 Georgia Odgers Tourism Intern January 2016 to May 2016 Anthony Pearson Public Officer MB+M Chartered Accountants Shepparton March 2011 to Current.

FRAN BAILEY CHAIR The Hon. Fran Bailey is a highly experienced and qualified former federal MP with 18 years’ experience. Her roles have included senior ministerial responsibilities in Defence, Employment Services, Business and Tourism with responsibilities for budgets in excess of $6 billion. Fran is the former Member for McEwan, an electorate that covered much of the Goulburn River Valley region. Fran is also currently Chair of Animal Aid Victoria. A resident of Healesville, Fran was appointed the Independent Chair on 30 January 2014.


Alan is a senior executive, with a technology background, currently in the role of GM Corporate Services for Goulburn-Murray Water. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Tech2Kids, a charity committed to getting technology into the hands of disadvantaged children.

Emma Kubeil commenced employment at Strathbogie Shire in 2007 as a Student Planner. Having worked in the real estate industry for 13 years and a year within the grain industry, Emma had significant knowledge of property use and development and excellent customer service experience


TOURISM BOARD As at 30 June 2016

CHERYL HAMMER Cheryl Hammer is a proactive and long-time tourism operator in Greater Shepparton. She has owned her current business, The Churches Accommodation in Orrvale, for 10 years. Cheryl is also well known throughout the community for her media and marketing work with a range of businesses, including Emerald Bank Leisure Land, the site for the filming of the Australian movie, Spin Out. Cheryl has a background in community engagement, journalism, marketing and event management and is currently the CEO of not-for-profit organisation The Community Fund Goulburn Valley. Cheryl served on the board of Tourism Greater Shepparton for more than a decade and has been on the board of Goulburn River Valley Tourism since December 2014. She brings a wealth of industry and community experience and contacts to the Board.

During Emma’s nine years at Strathbogie Shire, Emma has advanced significantly through applying herself to study whilst working full time and raising a family. Significant milestones for Emma whilst employed at Council have been the completion of her Graduate Diploma in Environment and Planning and a Diploma in Management. Emma was also the recipient of the Regional Young Planner of the Year award in 2011. Emma spent her teenage years at Merton and went to school in Alexandra before heading to Melbourne then Cobram. Emma now lives in Euroa and is married to Rodney. Emma has two children, Nicholas and Thomas. Rodney and Emma have an Engineering business in Euroa known as Rod-Weld Engineering which commenced operation in 2012.


GERALDINE CHRISTOU Geraldine Christou has been Manager Investment Attraction (now retitled Manager Economic Development) since 2010, following eight years in the Governance department of Council and roles in the private manufacturing sector. Geraldine’s portfolios include tourism, events, business and industry attraction and development, business incubation, grants, international relations and visitor experience. Geraldine has a Bachelor of Business, an associate certificate of applied management, and Prince2 project management. Geraldine is also involved with Industry and Employment Ministerial Taskforce, La Trobe University Regional Advisory Board, Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry, GV Link and Shepparton Show Me. Geraldine was appointed to the Board in August 2014.

With most of his career spent in tourism and hospitality, Alan has worked in Australia and internationally, and been part of the senior executive for a variety of organisations from small local businesses through to global enterprises. His tourism experience includes bars, hotels, treetop walks, ski resorts, aquariums, island resorts and theme parks. With his background, Alan appreciates the importance of using technology to attract and retain visitors, and to complement and enhance the visitor experience. Alan lives in Kialla with his wife Kirsten, and two young children, Hannah and Hamish.


IAN FIRTH Ian has been working in the retail wine trade since 1992. In 1998 he move to North East Victoria and began working in Cellar Doors and restaurants gaining invaluable experience in hospitality and tourism. At that time he was elected on to the Beechworth Chamber of Commerce and was acting President in 1999. In 2000 Ian began managing Gapsted Wines retail business and established the Cellar Door and cafe business that year. Gapsted Wines were awarded Indigo Shire Business of the year 2002 and the Victorian Tourism awards Best Tourism winery in 2006. Ian moved to the Strathbogie Shire in 2008 after accepting the position of Customer Services Manager with Fowles Wine. After restructuring the business and overseeing refurbishment of the site Fowles Wine was awarded RACV Victorian Tourism awards Best Victorian Tourism Winery in 2012, 2013 and in 2014, entering the Hall of Fame. Ian has since been appointed to the Judging Panel for the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards in 2015 and 2016. Ian’s other loves are fine art and his family. He graduated from the National Art School in Sydney in 1992 with a Diploma in Fine Art and has exhibited in galleries in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. He lives in Euroa with his two daughters Amelie and Elliot.

With a background in law, data processing and the motor industry, John spent most of his working life at the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, where from 1973 until 1993 he was the Chief Executive.


Following retirement John moved to Seymour in 1998 and commenced his consultancy from home. Here, he started a new career which was to last nearly 15 years with Seymour Coaches and which led to other work in the passenger transport industry. John is a member of the Rotary Club of Seymour and is currently the President of Seymour Business and Tourism.

Janelle Toomey has worked in both agency and client roles during her career as an accomplished business, brand and product developer. As Business Director at Best. Design to Life a Melbourne based company who operate in the built brand, design and brand space - creating new integrated brand solutions for brands and immersive experiences for consumers in retail and hospitality. Janelle is also the co-owner and operator of renowned Bank Street Pizza in Avenel, which she started with her husband five years ago and has become one of Victoria’s loved regional food destinations.

JOHN KENNEDY John Kennedy has worked as a freelance journalist and publicist for all of his working life. His specialities include many aspects of the rural sector, engineering, mining, building and construction, the property sector, wine and local events.


Annie is an experienced company director, serving on the boards of government businesses, not-forprofit organisations and private SMEs.

Kellie is an experienced senior leader, specialising in customer experience, stakeholder engagement and business transformation. She has over 15 of years of leadership experience across a range of sectors including utilities, tertiary and indigenous education and local government.

John lost his self-built stone house and hobby farm at Buxton in the 2009 fires and in the aftermath abandoned Melbourne and moved to Yea where he lives and works from a home office. In 2012 John became the Cheviot Ward (Yea) Councillor of Murrindindi Shire Council and been Deputy Mayor for the past two years. He has held a number of portfolio responsibilities and was recently appointed to the Shire’s Economic Development portfolio. John has had a long involvement in picnic racing having been a previous President of the Healesville Amateur Racing Club. John is currently Secretary-Treasurer of the Yea Racing Club Inc., the current “Picnic Racing Club of the Year” and regularly contributes articles to racing media outlets.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diplomas in Education and Business and is a fellow of the Fairley Community Leadership Program. She has lived in the Goulburn Valley most of her life and has a passion for supporting and developing Sustainable regional and rural communities. Kellie is currently the Manager of Active Communities at Mitchell Shire Council overseeing a range of portfolios including leisure services, recreation and open spaces, customer and library services, economic development, arts, culture and tourism.


She is currently a Director of Docklands Studios Melbourne and is Chair of Seymour Health. Her professional career saw her working at the highest level of corporate communications.

ANDREW EMBLING Andrew is the owner of Landmark Embling Stock and Station agents and rural merchandise in Alexandra. Born in Alexandra, Andrew spent 18 years working with businesses across the Goulburn Valley before returning to the Murrindindi Shire 20 years ago. Andrew is active in the Murrindindi Shire as President of the Alexandra Traders and Tourism Association, Board Member of Murrindindi Inc, Board Member of Kellock Lodge and a council member of Rubicon Outdoor Centre. With a passion for regional events Andrew also sits on the Board of Alexandra Events Inc, a committee responsible for the Truck Show, Eildon Big Fish Challenge and many smaller events in the region. In 2008 Andrew was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for Services to the Community, a community which he is deeply passionate and proud to be a part of.

As Managing Director of one of Australia’s largest public relations companies, owned by Clemenger Advertising, she lead a team of practitioners who provided advice to many of Australia’s leading corporations and public entities. This in-depth understanding of strategic communications and marketing brings an important perspective to a board in an era where an organisation’s public profile is monitored by instant communications and a 24/7 news cycle. Annie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from ANU and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.




The Heart of Victoria is filled with rolling hills, lush forests, majestic water ways, rural plains and of course the mighty Goulburn river – the lifeblood of the region. Easy access for a day trip or delightful for an extended stay, choices are plentiful in the Goulburn River Valley. The region abounds with culture, intrigue, history, charm, individuality and the best of what nature has to offer. You can’t go past Lake Eildon, Lake Mountain and Lake Nagambie and that’s just for starters! Fantastic events, superb local produce, great wine, fabulous markets and the Great Victorian Rail Trail are all part of the mix.


Destinations such as Marysville, Kinglake Ranges, Alexandra, Eildon & Yea; Seymour, Kilmore, Tallarook, Tooborac & Broadford; Euroa, Nagambie, Strathbogie & Ruffy; and Shepparton, Mooroopna, Murchison, Dookie & Tatura offer something for everyone.

It’s easy to love the Heart of Victoria. MITCHELL


For further information contact: Goulburn River Valley Tourism P: 03 5795 1614 P: 0488 776 733

Goulburn River Valley Tourism Annual Report 2015-2016