Page 1

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  

Page 4    

1.1 ACT  Project  Plan  Background  

Page 4    

1.2 ACT  Project  description  

Page 6    

1.3 Strategic  interventions  

Page 7    

1.4 Project  Investment  Logic  Map  

Page 8    

1.5 ACT  project  reporting  and  steering  group  

2. Projects  delivered  so  far   Page  9    

2.1 Crossing  Borders  –  Tracks  and  Trails  

Page 9    

2.2 Residential  Development  Assessment  

Page 10  

2.3 Social  media  promotion  

Page 11  

2.4 Wayfinding  signage  at  railway  stations  

Page 12  

2.5 Social  procurement  

Page 12  

2.6 Small  towns  transformation  conference  

Page 13  

2.7 Clunes  Bookshop  giveaway  

3. Projects  currently  underway   Page  14  

3.1 Tourism  destination  management  plan  

Page 15  

3.2 Clunes  booktown  transformation  

Page 16  

3.3 Talbot  Farmers  Market  store  

Page 16  

3.4 Making  the  most  of  empty  spaces  

Page 17  

3.5 Planning  for  streetscape  upgrades  

Page 18  

3.6 Goldfields  Villages  Cycling  Trail  

Page 19  

3.7 Creswick  trails  masterplan  

4. Summary  of  challenges  and  opportunities   Page  20  

4.1 Project  evolution  

Page 21  

4.2 Project  challenges  

Page 21    

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    

two years  


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  


Advancing Country Towns Clunes Cluster

Investor: Facilitator: Initial Workshop: Version no: Last modified by:




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%

10% 10%

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.          

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.  


Advancing Country Towns 2 year report  

Progress report from the half way point of the Advancing Country Towns project in Clunes, Creswick and Talbot.

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