Advancing Country Towns Clunes, Creswick and Talbot Two-‐year progress report, October 2013
Contents: 1. Project background Page 3
Advancing Country Towns by the numbers
1.1 ACT Project Plan Background
1.2 ACT Project description
1.3 Strategic interventions
1.4 Project Investment Logic Map
1.5 ACT project reporting and steering group
2. Projects delivered so far Page 9
2.1 Crossing Borders – Tracks and Trails
2.2 Residential Development Assessment
2.3 Social media promotion
2.4 Wayfinding signage at railway stations
2.5 Social procurement
2.6 Small towns transformation conference
2.7 Clunes Bookshop giveaway
3. Projects currently underway Page 14
3.1 Tourism destination management plan
3.2 Clunes booktown transformation
3.3 Talbot Farmers Market store
3.4 Making the most of empty spaces
3.5 Planning for streetscape upgrades
3.6 Goldfields Villages Cycling Trail
3.7 Creswick trails masterplan
4. Summary of challenges and opportunities Page 20
4.1 Project evolution
4.2 Project challenges
4.3 Project opportunities for consideration
Report prepared by Advancing Country Towns Project Manager, Mark Hogan, October 2013
Advancing Country Towns, by the numbers...................
1.................... Number of Investment Logic Maps developed to guide the project
Number of stories we had features on ABC National News
Number of former Victorian Premiers who visited for a project briefing
4……………….…Number of community workshops facilitated by world renowned academic Dr
Tim Williams to develop project ideas and opportunities
88………………Number of people who attended the four community workshops 333…………..Number of individual ideas generated in the community workshops 15………………Number of potential projects that were identified from the 333 ideas 6………………….Number of Initiative Proposals that have been endorsed in the first two years
of the Clunes Cluster ACT project
10……………….Number of individual projects that make up the six Initiative Proposals that
have been endorsed by the ACT steering group
11……………….Number of State Government Departments that were directly briefed on ACT
projects and opportunities
3…………………. Number of ACT towns (Clunes and Creswick) that we successfully lobbied for
inclusion as growth towns in the Central Highlands Regional Growth Plan
2………………….Number of State conferences where the Clunes Cluster ACT project has been
presented as a case study for small town development
1500……….. Number of short black coffees the Project Manager may have consumed
during the life of the project
457,600..Number of dollars either spent or committed so far from the ACT budget
directly to projects across Clunes, Creswick and Talbot
410,000..Number of dollars leveraged from other partners for ACT projects 29………..…….Number of community and volunteer groups that the ACT project has met
with or collaborated with so far
121,000..Number of kilometres travelled in the delivery of the project over the first
1. ACT project background The following information is an extract from the ACT project plan and provides a brief outline of the thinking behind the project and the focus areas that ACT is striving to address. This section will assist in providing context around the project achievements so far.
1.1 Project plan background The Advancing Country Towns program is a $9.4 million investment in nine regional and rural communities in Victoria. The program aims to revitalise the nine communities through improved investment and service coordination to enhance prosperity and quality of life. The Clunes Cluster project involves the towns of Clunes and Creswick (Hepburn Shire), and Talbot (Central Goldfields Shire). These towns were selected for inclusion in the Advancing Country Towns program, partly due to issues of disadvantage, but particularly around the exciting opportunity and potential that exists within each community. Within the region, both the Hepburn and Central Goldfields Shires have actively contributed to the creation of the Central Highlands Regional Strategic Plan (CHRSP). The CHRSP was developed in partnership with State Government and guides future development and infrastructure priorities, including small town priorities. The three towns that make up the Clunes Cluster are also perfectly positioned within the Ballarat-‐Maryborough-‐Bendigo corridor to benefit from a strategic corridor approach to future development and infrastructure projects within areas of tourism, economic development, transport and arts. 1.2 Project Description Based on the information outlined above in the project background the agreed priorities for Clunes, Creswick and Talbot are: • • •
Economic development Integrated services Adaptation to changing environment and population.
The Clunes Cluster project will tackle head on the key problem areas that are preventing the three towns from being able to grow and prosper. The project will have a strong focus on the three priority areas to help shape timely and meaningful outcomes within the short life of the Advancing Country Towns project. An Investment Logic Map (ILM) was undertaken to utilise the State Government's Investment Management Standard as the basis for the project's direction. Over a series of four workshops, representatives from Local Government, various State Government departments and the Community Services sector completed the ILM to fully determine the key problems facing the three communities. The problems, outlining root cause and effect
are outlined as follows. The red text is the cause and the green text is effect, which were defined as: Attracting young families and professional people to the respective towns was seen as a key factor in using The lack of core services, population growth to boost prosperity and generate employment and improved social capital. The State public amenity and government's research through the former Provincial employment are major Victoria campaign identifies key factors such as impediments to the employment and affordable housing being triggers to towns’ population attract population, along with liveability which is growth enhanced through amenity and access to services. While each of the three towns within the Clunes Cluster has its own strengths, it was identified that there is a clear need to improve amenity and generate employment in order to boost population growth.
Problem definition 1:
The ability to attract new residents and to generate Problem definition 2: employment opportunities through the attraction of new businesses hinges, at its simplest level, on the availability The inability acquire suitable land/property is of suitable property or appropriately zoned land to facilitate potential development. Talking to the market, restricting people and analysing GIS data and consideration of the available businesses moving into infrastructure in each town made it clear that this the area needed to be addressed to varying degrees within each of the three towns. Unlocking these opportunities will support the economic development focus within the project and address one of the key impediments facing each town. Changes within the agriculture and industry sectors, Problem definition 3: ongoing restructuring of Government services, and the growth of neighboring regional centres has had a major Inadequate or non-‐ impact on employment opportunities, career pathways existent strategies to and access to services within the Clunes Cluster engage the townships. The result is higher than average disadvantaged is unemployment and lower than average Year 12 perpetuating a gap in completion rates, with identified pockets of socio-‐economic status disadvantage existing within each location. Providing a connection between the disadvantaged and the opportunities identified through Advancing Country Towns will play a critical role in addressing the gap in socio-‐economic status, resulting in more vibrant communities.
In addressing these three problems, the Clunes Cluster project seeks to deliver the following benefits: •
Improved vitality and liveability of towns
Sustainable growth of towns, and
Increased community wellbeing
These benefits will be delivered by considering nine Strategic Interventions and developing project initiatives that will bring together various project partners including community, the business sector, Local, State and Federal Government, and other agencies to enact the strategic interventions and ultimately deliver the identified benefits above. 1.3 Strategic Interventions There are nine identified Strategic Interventions for the Clunes Cluster, which aim to deliver the following outputs and outcomes by the end of the project:
ABOVE: Andrew Wisdom (left) and Dr Tim Williams from ARUP met Talbot shop owner Helen Green as part of the ACT community consultation process.
Ensure that the universal services necessary to attract new settlement in the towns are accessible
Support community projects to enhance local amenity and leverage employment opportunities.
Facilitate the development of more local employment through tourism, attracting more visitors to the historic townships.
Stimulate developments in areas that are able to leverage local labour.
Facilitate the development of land for residential purposes.
Increase the supply of suitable industrial and commercial land, and facilitate development.
Improve the yield on existing commercial property opportunities in town main streets.
Improve the linkage between employment opportunities and the target cohort within the local community.
Improve the level of skills and job readiness of local employees to meet the needs of local and regional businesses.
A copy of the detailed Investment Logic Map for the Clunes Cluster project is outlined on the following page.
1.4 Investment Logic Map
DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Advancing Country Towns Clunes Cluster
Investor: Facilitator: Initial Workshop: Version no: Last modified by:
INVESTMENT LOGIC MAP Initiative
Improved vitality and liveability of towns 30% KPI 1: Population growth in the towns, measured across all ages KPI 2: Improved public amenity within the town. KPI 3: Increased tourism
The lack of core services, public amenity and employment are major impediments to the town’s population growth. 40%
Mark Hogan David Platt 3rd November 2011 5 David Platt 4/1/12
Ensure that the universal services necessary to attract new settlement in the towns are accessible. 10%
Support community projects to enhance local amenity and leverage employment opportunities. 10% Facilitate the development of more local employment through tourism attracting more visitors to the historic townships. 10%
Stimulate developments in the area that are able to leverage local labour. 20% 5%
Sustainable growth of towns 45% 35% KPI 1: Increased yield from existing commercial properties. KPI 2: Increase in number of SMEs KPI 3: Increased employment opportunities
The inability to acquire suitable land/property is restricting people and businesses moving into area. 35%
Facilitate the development of land for residential purposes. 10%
Increase the supply of suitable industrial and commercial land, and facilitate development. 10%
Improve the yield on existing commercial property opportunities in main street. 10% 5%
Increased community wellbeing 25% KPI 1: Improve SEIFA relative to state KPI 2: Improved employment opportunities for low skilled work. KPI 3: Increased usage of services by target cohort KPI 4: Increased strategies and coordination to engage the disadvantaged
Inadequate or nonexistent strategies to engage the disadvantaged is perpetuating a gap in socio-economic status 25%
Improve the linkage between employment opportunities and target cohort within local community. 5% Improve the level of skills and job readiness of local employees to meet the needs of local and regional businesses. 15%
Template version: 4.0
1.5 ACT Project reporting and steering group ACT has operated with a unique funding and project delivery structure that sits across local government and State Government in a complex multi-‐stakeholder environment. The following points explain the complexity of the project, the key stakeholders involved, and changes that have occurred along the way. • •
ACT is funded directly out of State Government. Initially the project was funded through the former Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD), however, DPCD was discontinued under the Premier’s machinery of government changes at the end of June 2013. Since July 2013 the project has been administered via Regional Development Victoria (RDV), which sits in the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI). Under the program delivery structure, the project is administered directly by Local Government under a funding agreement with State Government, with the project manager employed by Hepburn Shire. The project reports to State Government via a project steering group made up of stakeholders identified by State Government at the outset of the project. The three towns that make up the project area (Clunes, Creswick and Talbot) sit across two different Local Government areas, due to Talbot being located in Central Goldfields Shire. The two Local Government areas (Hepburn and Central Goldfields) sit within two different State Government regions, being Grampians Region and Loddon Mallee Region. The project worked directly with key stakeholders in each community, while the identified economic development and tourism focus meant that the project also liaised with three different tourism regions, being Ballarat Regional Tourism, Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Tourism and Bendigo Regional Tourism.
The initial project steering group that undertook the development of the Investment Logic Map and oversaw the first year of the project comprised: -‐ -‐ -‐ -‐ -‐ -‐
Chair, Peter Rademaker (DPCD) Barry Green (Hepburn Shire) Cr Chris Meddows-‐Taylor (Central Goldfields Shire) Kieran Murrihy (Department of Human Services) Kerry I’Anson (Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Tourism) Sarah Hart (Department of Premier and Cabinet)
During the first two years of the project, various changes were made to the steering group due council elections, employment changes, and the focus of the project. As at October 2013, the steering group comprised: -‐ -‐ -‐ -‐ -‐
Chair, Marc Amos (RDV) Kathleen Brannigan (Hepburn Shire) David Sutcliffe (Central Goldfields Shire) Barb Chalkley (Department of Premier and Cabinet) George Sossi (Ballarat Regional Tourism)
2. Projects delivered so far The following projects have been completed during the first two years of ACT, and were either solely delivered as ACT initiatives, or were delivered in partnership with other stakeholders and funding partners. Here’s a snapshot: 2.1 Project: Crossing Borders – Tracks and Trails Project milestones: Funding application submitted November 2011 Project completed March 2013 Partners: Hepburn Shire Central Goldfields Shire City of Ballarat Macedon Ranges Shire Sport and Recreation Department of Transport Project budget: $100,000 Councils $25,000 collectively Sport and Recreation $50,000 Department of Transport $25,000 Project scope: This project was not funded out of the ACT budget, but was identified through consultation as part of the ACT project, and the funding submission was developed by the ACT project manager and submitted on behalf of the four councils who contributed funding. The project involved a feasibility study into four key trails projects in the region, being: -‐ A Creswick mountain bike trails network. -‐ A Black Hill (Ballarat) mountain bike facility. -‐ An on road trail from Maryborough to Ballarat, connecting Talbot, Clunes and Creswick. -‐ A rail trail from Daylesford to Woodend Project outcomes: Since completion, the study has resulted in funding being committed through the ACT project for the delivery of the Maryborough to Ballarat Trail, and for a masterplan for the Creswick Trails project which identifies significant economic and employment potential. The study has also been shared with Tourism Victoria as part of the development of its state-‐wide masterplan.
2.2 Project: Residential development assessment Project milestones: Project commenced August 2012 Project completed October 2012 Partners: Hepburn Shire Central Goldfields Shire
Project budget: $6600 Project scope: The project was undertaken to identify existing conditions, barriers and opportunities for future residential development across the three ACT towns. Project outcomes: TGM Planning was contracted to undertake the project, which delivered a report that clearly identifies the development potential of each town. The report outlines existing conditions, growth rates within the towns, existing zones and overlays, potential growth, market advice, infrastructure servicing advice and an overall assessment. The report has now positioned Hepburn Shire and Central Goldfields Shire to actively pursue development opportunities for the three towns, and provide a body of work that will support developers and the councils in making future investment decisions.
2.3 Project: Social media promotion
Project milestones: Project commenced April 2012 Project completed April 2013 Partners: Hepburn Shire Central Goldfields Shire Project budget: $10,000 Project scope: The project was developed in order to generate opportunities from the State Government’s Regional Living Expo in Melbourne. The idea behind the project was to create a simple Facebook page that could represent Clunes, Creswick and Talbot, providing active information on the real estate market, and events and tourism information in order to attract visitors and potential new residents who had attended the Regional Living Expo and expressed an interest in relocating to the region. Project outcomes: Ascend Public Relations and Communications was engaged to undertake the project, which included attending the Regional Living Expo in Melbourne, and then creating the Facebook page and managing information on the page over the following 12 month period. The page has attracted 135 ‘Likes’ and shared a significant amount of information that generated further content from local residents and visitors alike, keen to advocate for the benefits of the region.
The project also generated YouTube content through videos that captured interviews with tree changers who had already moved to the area. The videos have been viewed a collective 390 times, and can be seen here. http://www.youtube.com/watchClunes http://www.youtube.com/watchClunesPart2 http://www.youtube.com/watchTalbot http://www.youtube.com/watchCreswick
2.4 Project: Wayfinding signage at railway stations
Project milestones: Project commenced October 2012 Project completed July 2013 Partners: Hepburn Shire Central Goldfields Shire Dept of Transport Project budget: $15,000 Hepburn Shire $5000 Central Goldfields Shire $2500 Department of Transport $7500 Project scope: This project directly responded to the return of passenger rail services in Clunes and Creswick, and the planned return of services to Talbot, on the Ballarat to Maryborough line. The project acknowledged that the re-‐activation of railway stations in each town had exposed a lack of adequate signage to support pedestrian connection between the respective stations and the town centres. The project was initially discussed with State Government with a view to utilising ACT budget to match the available contribution from Department of Transport. However, the discussions identified that Transport Connections funding was available, and both Hepburn Shire and Central Goldfields Shire agreed to contribute money from their Transport Connections projects to fund delivery. Project outcomes: In order to maximise the limited budget available, the project was managed locally by Edward Crossland from Department of Transport. Edward undertook an exceptional amount of work scoping the three locations and developing a detailed report that not only informed the creation of wayfinding signage for each station, but also provided beneficial recommendations for both councils. The report outlined future infrastructure needs such as footpaths, crossovers, lighting and signage to improve pedestrian access between each town centre and their respective railway station. Staff from both councils were involved in the project control group, and endorsed the signage created for installation at each station, which was contracted out to an experienced designer.
2.5 Project: Social procurement
Project milestones: Project commenced and completed September 2011 Project outcomes ongoing Partners: Hepburn Shire State Government -‐ Local Government Victoria Project budget: nil Project scope: In late 2011, Hepburn Shire was funded by Regional Development Australia to undertake a $3.2 million redevelopment of the Clunes Museum into a Community Interpretive Centre. Recognising the potential of the development to deliver local employment and economic outcomes, the ACT project worked in partnership with State Government through Local Government Victoria to implement a social procurement framework that Hepburn Shire could include in the construction tender for the museum. This was undertaken by arranging for staff from State Government to visit Hepburn Shire and work directly with procurement staff and project managers to introduce the concept of social procurement and provide templates that could easily be included in tender documentation. Project outcomes: As a result of the project, Hepburn included a social procurement section within the project documentation that required tenderers to outline how they would provide opportunities for local employment within the project, and how they would maximise local economic benefit from their delivery of the project. Hepburn Shire now includes social procurement in all appropriate tenders that it advertises, and has subsequently been invited to speak at State forums to advocate for the benefits of social procurement.
2.6 Project: Small Towns Transformation Conference Project milestones: Project commenced Mar 2013 Project completed May 2013
Partners: Hepburn Shire Regional Development Australia Regional Development Victoria Creative Clunes Project budget: $5000 Regional Development Australia $5000 Project scope: In 2012 Creative Clunes was successful in its application to have Clunes accepted as Australia’s first booktown by the International Association of Booktowns. As a direct result of its newfound status, Creative Clunes was able to arrange for international booktown representatives from Norway and South Korea to attend the 2013 Booktown Festival. To coincide with the visit, and the staging of the festival, a
conference was planned to share the Clunes story of small town transformation and to use the conference as a catalyst to develop ideas for other small towns. The project was funded by Regional Development Australia, which allowed for use of the professional facilitator to run the conference Project outcomes: Close to 50 people attended the event, representing Local Government, State Government, Regional Development Australia, and communities and volunteer groups from across Victoria. In addition to sharing the Clunes story, the event also provided insights into the value of research and data to support funding applications, current opportunities for State funding, and a panel discussion with international booktown guests. The event attracted media coverage in The Age, on WIN Television, and on ABC News, which attended the weekend festival and reported on the conference outcomes.
ABOVE: The opening two pages of the brochure for the Clunes Bookstore Giveaway
2.7 Project: Clunes bookshop giveaway Project milestones: Project commenced June 2013 Project completed July 2013
Partners: Hepburn Shire Creative Clunes Project budget: $250
Project scope: Creative Clunes had previously established two bookstores in Clunes, which were initially operated successfully through volunteer support, and were subsequently taken over by
existing volunteer staff that chose to operate them as stand alone businesses. The businesses included assets and infrastructure such as book shelves, computers, retail software, cash registers etc. that were owned by Creative Clunes and provided for use to the business operators. In mid 2013, one of the store operators decided to close their store. Given the assets that remained with the shop, and the willingness of the landlord to see another book store operate from the premises, Creative Clunes decided to use the assets and infrastructure that it owned within the store to act as a lure to attract a new book shop. In order to create awareness of the opportunity, Creative Clunes decided to promote the shop as a ‘book store giveaway’, offering use of its infrastructure within the store for free, and inviting people to apply for the ‘book store giveaway’ by completing an online application process. The ACT project provided support by developing a promotional prospectus to provide background information about the competition, and working with procurement staff at Hepburn Shire to oversee the application and selection process, as would be the case with a normal tender. Project outcomes: Creative Clunes was able to generate significant media coverage of the competition, including interviews on ABC radio and 3AW Melbourne, and a story and photo in the Herald Sun. The result of the process and publicity was 28 applications for the book store giveaway, with Creative Clunes selecting an outstanding applicant from Castlemaine with significant experience managing book stores. In addition to seeding a new business through the competition, Creative Clunes and the ACT project identified the best five applicants among those that were unsuccessful, and has begun the process of encouraging those people to follow their interest in Clunes and discuss other opportunities to secure shop fronts within the town to operate book stores.
3. Projects currently underway The following projects are either underway, or about to start. Like the projects already delivered, some are either ACT initiatives, or are being delivered in partnership with other stakeholders and funding partners. Here’s a snapshot: 3.1 Project: Tourism destination management plan
Project milestones: Project commenced April 2013 Expected completion date Nov 2013 Partners: Ballarat Regional Tourism State Government Project budget: $175,000 Ballarat Regional Tourism and State Government $140,000 ACT Project $35,000 Project scope: The project was identified as a need in order to provide quality data and recommendations that could influence future tourism investment and infrastructure spending across the three ACT towns. Through discussions within the region it emerged that Ballarat Regional
Tourism was about to undertake an identical piece of work, providing an opportunity to collaborate and share funding to deliver a region wide project that picks up the three ACT towns. Expected outcomes: The destination management plan has been contracted to Urban Enterprise and will form the basis for future growth and development of the tourism industry. The project is undertaking a massive scope of work, including visitation data analysis, identification of target markets, visitation forecasts, local industry consultation, product audits, identifying product opportunities and priorities, with key recommendations to be spatially mapped and costed to fully understand the capital investment required and the benefits it will deliver. The plan is due to be completed in November 2013.
3.2 Project: Clunes booktown transformation
Project milestones: Project commenced July 2013 Project ongoing to end of ACT, August 2015 Partners: Hepburn Shire Council State Government Creative Clunes Clunes book traders Project budget: $93,500 Hepburn Shire $5000 cash and $5000 in-‐kind State Government $30,000 ACT Project $53,500 Project Scope: In 2012 Clunes was declared Australia’s first booktown by the International Organisation of Booktowns (IOB). This status came about following an application by Creative Clunes to the IOB, and was validation for a number of years of hard work by Creative Clunes in establishing the hugely successful annual Booktown Festival and seeding a number of book stores within the town. As a direct result of the festival, the number of book stores in Clunes has grown to eight, which in turn has allowed Clunes to met the IOB criteria as a booktown. This particular ACT project is designed to continue the transformation of Clunes as an international booktown by focussing on making the existing book stores sustainable, by attracting new book stores and book offerings in the town, and by promoting Clunes to attract more visitors using the book stores as a lure, thus supporting not only the book stores, but other businesses in town. Expected outcomes: The project is already in progress and will deliver: -‐ Creation of a Clunes booktown brand to support promotion of the town. -‐ The development of a quality e-‐commerce website that will allow any book store in Clunes to sell books online, thus increasing their customer base and sustainability. -‐ The creation of a growing database of book lovers who are either introduced to Clunes or re-‐ acquainted with the town by purchasing books online. -‐ A communication platform, using the website, that will make mass communication to the customer database a simple task. -‐ Development of a marketing and public relations strategy that will guide ongoing promotion of Clunes over the next two years. -‐ Creation of promotional material to support the new Clunes booktown brand.
Creation of a promotional prospectus that will support the attraction of new book stores to Clunes, and support existing stores to include a book offering as part of their business. Visual merchandising training for businesses in Clunes.
3.3 Project: Talbot Farmers Market Store Project milestones: Project consultation commenced July 2013 Project delivery to commence Jan 2014 Expected completion date December 2014
Partners: Central Goldfields Shire Talbot Farmers Market Committee Talbot Action Inc Project Budget: $92,500 Talbot Action Inc $5000 ACT Project $87,500 Project scope: Talbot has one of the most successful farmers markets in Victoria, attracting a monthly crowd of 3000 to 5000 people to the town of approximately 400. While the market is known extensively and has assisted in putting Talbot on the map, in the period between markets the town is particularly quiet. The Talbot Farmers Market Store project is designed to create a permanent farmers market store within the town and also act as a catalyst for the Talbot Farmers Market committee to activate its strategic plan. A tender has been developed for the project, which will be advertised by Central Goldfields Shire, and the project delivery will be overseen by the Shire. Expected outcomes: The creation of a Talbot Farmers Market store will be a catalyst for: -‐ Activating an empty building within the Talbot main street. -‐ Providing daily access to fresh food, produce and other products for Talbot residents. -‐ Leveraging from the success of the monthly Talbot Farmers Market and encouraging further visitation to the town. -‐ Increasing awareness of the Talbot name and brand, and creating a structure that allows the Talbot store to be replicated in other locations. -‐ Providing an additional sales point for producers to sell their product. -‐ Creating employment and training opportunities for Talbot residents.
3.4 Project: Making the most of empty spaces Project milestones: Project commenced August 2013 Expected completion date June 2014
Partners: Hepburn Shire Central Goldfields Shire
Bendigo Bank – Creswick Community Bank Project budget: $120,000 Hepburn Shire $5000 Creswick Community Bank $5000 ACT Project $110,000 Project scope: The project has been created to overcome the challenge of empty retail spaces across all three towns in the ACT project area. The project will be a catalyst for creating thriving town centres and activating new businesses in empty shop fronts, buildings and other underutilised spaces. Expected outcomes: The project is already underway, with leading Australian social enterprise Renew Australia having been engaged to deliver the project over a 12 month period. Renew Australia team to work with the project partners and communities to: ABOVE: M arcus W estbury a nd C indy P lowman f rom R enew -‐ Identify vacant properties Australia inspecting buildings in Talbot. -‐ Work with property owners to “borrow” them on a rolling 30 day basis (using a license agreement and managing insurance under Renew Australia’s established scheme) -‐ Target locally based small-‐scale creative industries, makers, artisans who produce original, high value creative products and services to occupy those spaces. -‐ Ensure that projects are not directly competing with existing businesses in the area -‐ Meet with and work with local property owners -‐ Curate and select the best uses of spaces -‐ Manage the compliance, insurance, and OH&S issues -‐ Manage moving participants into and out of the spaces -‐ Market the program, the individual properties and the local communities -‐ Appoint a locally based project manager to oversee the ongoing management of project once the initial agreements are in place.
3.5 Project: Planning for Streetscapes upgrades Project milestones: Project delivery to commence early in 2014 Project expected completion date December 2014
Partners: Hepburn Shire Central Goldfields Shire Project budget: $80,000 ACT Project $80,000
Project scope: The project is designed to improve amenity across all three towns, in line with the ACT Investment Logic Map, by undertaking streetscape upgrades in Clunes and Creswick, and supporting the development of appropriate planning provisions in Talbot to support an existing streetscape upgrade that is already underway. The project aligns with the State Government Regional Growth Fund and will create ‘shovel ready’ projects that Hepburn and Central Goldfields Shires can feed into future budget cycles with strong potential to leverage State Government support. The project was also chosen as it has been recognized that streetscape upgrades, through investment in public infrastructure, general act as a catalyst for further private investment in retail businesses. Expected outcomes: The project in Clunes and Creswick will be advertised by Hepburn Shire as part of a larger tender process, with the first stage delivering comprehensive community consultation in each location. The consultation will seek local input into streetscape design opportunities and preferences in order to ensure any design work is reflective of community expectations. Once consultation is complete, detailed design and costings will be prepared and will inform future budget allocations for Hepburn Shire and subsequent funding applications to State Government. Within Central Goldfields Shire, the development of planning provisions to protect township amenity will be created, complimenting the existing streetscape upgrade that is being undertaken by the Shire.
3.6 Project: Goldfields Villages Cycling Trail Project milestones: Project delivery to commence in early 2014 Project expected completion date June 2014
Partners: Central Goldfields Shire Hepburn Shire State Government Department of Transport Project Budget: $30,000 Department of Transport $5000 ACT Project $25,000 Project scope: This project came about through the completion of the Crossing Borders – Tracks and Trails project, a feasibility study into four trails opportunities across the region. This particular on-‐ road cycling trail will run from Maryborough to Ballarat, and connect Talbot, Clunes and Creswick. The trail provides multiple access points thanks to the operation of the Maryborough to Ballarat rail service, which presently stops at Clunes and Creswick, with plans to stop at Talbot in the future. The trail will also connect to the Goldfields Track, and has strong marketing and promotional opportunities through the tourism sector with potential for promotional support to be coordinated between Bendigo and Ballarat regional tourism bodies. Expected outcomes: The funding will be utilised to implement the recommendations of the Crossing Borders feasibility study, specifically the construction and installation of signage for the Goldfields Villages Cycling Trail, allowing the trail to be activated.
3.7 Project: Creswick Trails Masterplan
Project milestones: Project expected to commence in early 2014 Project expected completion date December 2014
Partners: Hepburn Shire Project budget: $40,000 ACT project $40,000 Project scope: Like the Goldfields Villages Cycling Trail, this project came about through the completion of the Crossing Borders – Tracks and Trails project, a feasibility study into four trails opportunities across the region. This particular idea is for a world class stacked loop mountain bike network around Creswick. The Crossing Borders Feasibility study indicated that a trail network could be a significant economic driver for Creswick, with an approximate $2m investment expected to generate an annual return of $1.5m for the local economy and around 10 full time jobs within Creswick. Expected outcomes: The Creswick Trails Masterplan will undertake detailed trail design and full project costings for the Creswick Trails network. Once the design and costings are complete, Creswick Trails will be a shovel ready project, allowing Hepburn Shire to plan future budget allocations for a staged construction of the trails network. It is also expected that the masterplan will support funding applications to State and Federal Government.
4. Summary of challenges and opportunities As outlined in section 1.5 (page 8) the ACT project has a high level of complexity. The following summary is a brief outline of the challenges that have been overcome during the project and some which still lie ahead, as well as the opportunities that could be considered over the final two years of the project to August 2015. 4.1 Project evolution The ACT project has had an interesting upbringing, having been conceived as the Small Towns Adaptation Project by a Brumby Labor Government prior to a State election, and then re-‐scoped to be launched as Advancing Country Towns for delivery under a Baillieu Liberal government. The challenges faced by the project have existed on various levels, with some being manageable within the project, and others being outside of the control of the project. One of the key challenges faced by the project has been the complex array of stakeholders that has resulted from the selected cluster of towns, being Clunes, Creswick and Talbot. The similarities and strengths within the cluster are as follows: • Shared challenges around disadvantage. • Existing working relationship between many stakeholders within the towns and the region. • Connected transport infrastructure that links the towns. • Shared goldfields heritage strengths. The challenges faced in project delivery have included: • The three towns sit in two different Local Government Areas, adding an extra layer of consultation and key stakeholders (particularly Council staff) required to support project delivery. • The two local government areas are located in two different State Government regions. • Project funding is provided by State Government, which limits the ability to leverage additional State Government funding programs. • The three towns are located in two different Regional Tourism areas, and have a strategic relationship with a third neighboring area, adding a layer of complexity to Tourism outcomes, which formed a key part of the project plan. • Project Manager role being limited to two years of a four year project. It is also important to acknowledge that during the first two years of the project, a variety of structural changes and employment changes within State Government had various impacts on the project. These changes included: • The key person in State Government responsible for all nine ACT projects has changed three times in the first two years of the project. • Accordingly, direction from Melbourne changed significantly over the first two years of the project, from active control and direction of local ACT projects, to a more hands off approach that allowed stronger local ownership of projects. • The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD), which oversaw ACT projects, was discontinued under a major departmental restructure mid-‐way through the second year of the project. • Locally, the ACT steering group chair for the Clunes Cluster changed at the end of the first year of the project due an employment change. • Steering Group membership has also changed due to council election outcomes and employment changes.
4.2 Project challenges The opportunity that sits centrally within the whole project is how well positioned the three towns are to work together and collaborate into the future. However, this opportunity is also directly in conflict with the project’s complexity, due to the challenge of different stakeholders within different defined boundaries of government and tourism creating a hurdle that needs to be overcome. On one hand the key performance indicators of the project focus on resident attraction, job creation, and increasing tourism, but new residents, investors and tourists don’t care about boundaries, so the project simply has to succeed in spite of the barriers in place. If the stakeholders that operate within defined boundaries, being primarily State and Local Government and the Tourism sector, are willing to work together beyond the ACT project, then there is a clear opportunity for the three towns to benefit from ongoing collaboration into the future so their collective strengths can come to the fore. The limitation of the project manager role being in place for only the first two years of a four year project has placed considerable pressure on the respective Councils (Hepburn and Central Goldfields) to pick up the project delivery workload. There is an overwhelming view among project stakeholders in community, local government and State Government at the regional level, that limiting the project manager role to two years will have a negative impact on the project and was a mistake from the outset. The simple fact is, if rural councils had latent capacity to deliver projects like ACT, then there wouldn’t be a need for State Government to fund ACT, as these kinds of projects with complex cross sector collaboration would be the norm rather than the exception. However, this observation doesn’t change the reality of the project, and a clear requirement exists for both Hepburn Shire and Central Goldfields Shire to ensure that the remaining projects are embedded within their existing project and service delivery functions. 4.3 Five key opportunities for consideration: 1. The remaining ACT budget should be targeted at projects that support the existing strategic direction of each Council while also aligning with the overall goals of the ACT project. This will ensure that Council resources are in place and well matched to support ACT project delivery. 2. Councils need to keep ACT projects top of mind, not just at management level, but at delivery level so there is strong ownership of project implementation and outcomes are achieved. 3. State Government needs to play an ongoing role in actively engaging the two councils to keep track of project progress and identifying opportunities where support can be leveraged. 4. State Government, Hepburn Shire and Central Goldfields Shire should work with the three communities to test the appetite for ongoing collaboration between the three towns and scope opportunities to establish an independent development organisation that can be self sustaining and work across government boundaries to deliver outcomes for Clunes, Creswick and Talbot into the future. 5. State Government should liaise closely with ACT auspice councils to determine the effectiveness of project delivery and project outcomes in years 3 and 4 (after the completion of ACT project manager positions), and use the information to inform the design and funding structure for future place-‐based programs.