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Partnership with the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship

Creating an Enabling Environment – Develop entrepreneurial learning, skills and culture

The Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE) is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to build thriving rural communities through igniting entrepreneurship in young people and their communities.

ACRE is currently working with RCV member councils to deliver cross sector learning via the delivery of Understanding Social Enterprise workshops. This learning program deliberately brings leaders from government, community, education and business together to have a new dialogue about sustainable approaches to building economic and social capital. This approach builds a new understanding of possibility in rural communities whilst activating (often for the first time) different sector leaders combining forces on projects.

The Understanding Social Enterprise learning program is a practical two day experience that introduces learners to the objectives, values, purpose and practice of social enterprise. This facilitator led experience provides participants with the opportunity to learn about this new enterprising model that combines the best of business with clear and purposeful social aims.

The workshop explores the social enterprise concept and a number of operating models, the challenges and opportunities inherent in the model, and what the future holds for this growing movement.

Social enterprises are becoming increasingly attractive and effective as a vehicle for organisations to sustainably generate income and deliver increased social impact within their communities.

Learning outcomes for participants include:

  • Defining the values and purpose of a social enterprise to better understand where it sits in relation to the corporate and voluntary sector
  • Exploring the opportunities and drivers such as managing a triple bottom line to understand what issues you might face in developing and managing a social enterprise
  • Using tools and resources to help plan for and assess the potential of social enterprise ideas
  • Examining the range of organisational and legal structure available to social enterprises to comprehend the variety of types of social enterprise
  • Discussing real life examples of social enterprise to deepen peoples understanding of the realities of setting up and running a social enterprise
  • Exploring the ongoing role that they may have in the sector to enable follow on from the learning program.

Want to get involved?

Express your interest in hosting an ACRE-led social enterprise workshop by contacting the RCV Secretariat.

Population Attraction and Retention Strategies for Rural Victorian Communities

Rural Victorian communities face a range of opportunities and challenges in a rapidly changing world where some significant forces are at work, including:

  • Globalisation and the rise of Asia
  • Changing demographics
  • Rapidly changing technology
  • Climate change

Issues of long-term population decline, ageing and changes brought about by shifts in patterns of agricultural production and technology represent both challenges and opportunities for rural Victorian towns and regions. Rural Councils Victoria (RCV) has a clear role to play in supporting its 38 member organisations and their communities in responding to the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities.

This project is intended to determine drivers and barriers to population attraction and retention and economic development relevant to Victorian rural communities. It will identify a priority set of initiatives for implementation over three years towards creating stronger and more sustainable rural communities.

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Rural Retail Handbook

There are many issues facing Victorian rural retailers. These include: escape spending to nearby regional cities, online shopping and sales; declining population; limited household spending; economic uncertainty and changes to tourist and visitation patterns.

However, there are many opportunities for rural retailers and councils to work together to bring foot traffic back to the main streets and create more sustainable rural retail industries.  The Rural Retail Handbook includes a wide range ideas sourced both locally and from around the globe that could be implemented by local retailers.

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Rural Council Sustainability

The financial and operational sustainability of rural councils has been raised as an ongoing priority by member councils over recent years, including during consultations for the development of RCV’s Strategic Plan in late 2013 and early 2014. This project seeks to answer the question:

‘How can RCV best support councils to build capacity and improve performance in the context of the wider local government reform agenda of the Victorian government?’

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Rural Recruitment and Retention Pilot Report

In 2012-13 Rural Councils Victoria and the Country Education Project worked with the Northern Grampians Shire Council and the Wimmera Development Association to develop and pilot a whole-of-community approach to encourage university graduates to live and work in a rural community. The project tested two approaches: a partnership model and an internship model.

Project outcomes indicate that whole-of-community approaches have significant value in encouraging graduates to consider employment in rural areas.

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Rural Migration Trends and Drivers Report

This report was prepared to identify rural migration trends and drivers impacting Victoria’s rural councils and consult with them on the plans and activities currently being undertaken. The report makes associated draft recommendations about future Rural Councils Victoria programs, following a consultation process with Victoria’s 38 rural councils.

Download here.

Financial Cost of Settlement Patterns in Rural Victoria

This report documents a project commissioned by RCV to investigate the financial impacts of different forms of residential development in rural Victoria. The project resulted in:

  • Improved understanding of the costs of capital, maintenance and service provision of different rural settlement typologies and the cumulative effect of development decisions over time
  • A modelling tool that can be easily used and adapted by councils, with key metrics that can be easily updated for tailoring to local circumstances
  • Clarity regarding the financial (and other) benefits of development in areas with under-utilised infrastructure and latent service capacity.

Download here.

Stronger Planning Enforcement Risk Assessment Framework and Further Resources

The Stronger Planning Enforcement – Risk Assessment Tool and this Supplementary Resource were developed in response to a 2008 Auditor-General’s recommendation that councils should:

“conduct an across-the-board risk assessment of all permit categories to set enforcement priorities and resource allocation and to better address their legal obligations to administer and enforce the planning scheme and  the Planning and Environment Act 1987”

The Framework is intended to be a model that councils, in particular, rural councils, may use to assist in determining enforcement priorities, having regard to available resources.

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Retailing in Rural Municipalities

For small rural communities, retail is an important part of the economic base. Local Councils have some influence on retailing in their municipalities through land use planning, urban design, infrastructure planning, rates and charges and the like, and they can facilitate improvements to maximise the local economic benefits through a strong retail sector.

The objectives of this research were:

  • To analyse current trends and drivers of retailing in rural communities, and the role of the retail sector in contributing to local economies and jobs
  • To provide an overview of the current performance of retail centres in rural municipalities, including reference to available benchmarks and indicators
  • To identify the economic value of retail and town centres to rural areas
  • To present appropriate case studies to highlight, in practical terms, the above analysis.

Download here.

Economic Development Activities and Capacity Audit, 2012

This report has been prepared by Rural Councils Victoria to identify the economic development activities and capacity of Victoria’s rural councils and to make associated recommendations about future Rural Councils Victoria programs, following consultation with Victoria’s 38 rural councils.

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Economic Skills Program

This project responds to the findings of the Rural Councils’ Economic Development Activities and Capacity Audit, which indicated a need amongst rural councils for learning, skill development and capacity building to support and assist rural councils in their economic development efforts.

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Rural Communities Supporting Creative Industries: Opportunity Paper

This Opportunities Paper illustrates ways rural councils could support their local industry, recognising the role high speed broadband plays in supporting innovation, skills and business growth, productivity and competitive advantage. In particular, four key opportunities have been identified for the growth and support of creative industries in rural Victorian communities.

Download here.

Rural Creative Industries Economic Study

This study provides detailed economic analysis of Rural Victoria’s creative sector. This analysis was undertaken to assist the State Government in identifying challenges and opportunities for the sector and in developing appropriate policy responses.

Download here.

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